Just as we’ve come to expect, the women’s side of the draw has thrown up many surprises as we approach the final of the 2018 US Open. The top seeds were dropping like flies in week 1, which has eventually led to the 17th ranked Serena Williams taking on the 20th ranked Naomi Osaka. Here, we’ve provided a short preview and our best bets for the all-important final.
Sunday, September 9 6:00am AEST
Arthur Ashe Stadium
New York, USA
Unlike her opponent, Williams needs no introduction. She’s a 23-time Grand Slam champion and a 6-time US Open champion. A win here at Flushing Meadows would place Williams equal with Margaret Court for the most Grand Slam tournament singles titles (24) in the history of the sport. At 36 years of age, Williams would break her own record for the oldest winner of a Grand Slam singles title if she gets the job done over Osaka.
Williams has looked back to her best at Flushing Meadows and will certainly take some beating on Sunday morning (AEST). Apart from her Round 4 scare with Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi, Williams has cruised through the draw with straight set wins in all matches. Her combination of power and placement was far too much for Anastasija Sevastova in the Semi Final, as Williams dropped just 3 games to win in just over an hour.
Serena Williams’ road to the final
Round 1: defeated Magda Linette (6-4, 6-0)
Round 2: defeated Carina Wotthoft (6-2, 6-2)
Round 3: defeated  Venus Williams (6-1, 6-2)
Round 4: defeated Kaia Kanepi (6-0, 4-6, 6-3)
Quarter-final: defeated  Karolina Pliskova (6-4, 6-3)
Semi-final: defeated  Anastasija Sevastova (6-3, 6-0)
Born in Japan, Naomi Osaka moved to the United States at the age of three with her family who are of Japanese and Haitian heritage. She’s a tall (S1.8m) but agile mover who possesses power that is mostly unrivalled in women’s tennis. Osaka is just 20 years of age and is a cool, calm and collected type of operator.
Osaka is a bit of an unknown to the casual fan as she’s never gone deep in a Grand Slam tournament before her great run at the US Open this week. Her previous best result at a Grand Slam was at the Australian Open this year where she lost in the fourth round to eventual runner-up, Simona Halep.
Osaka’s had a really impressive two weeks a Flushing Meadows. Like Williams, she’s only had one scare en route to the final, which came in her fourth round clash with Aryna Sabalenka, where she prevailed 6-4 in the deciding set. Other than that match, it’s been smooth sailing for the Japanese sensation who has dismantled a number of opponents in her path.
Naomi Osaka’s road to the final
Round 1: defeated Laura Siegemund (6-3, 6-2)
Round 2: defeated Julia Glushko (6-2, 6-0)
Round 3: defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich (6-0, 6-0)
Round 4: defeated  Aryna Sabalenka (6-3, 2-6, 6-4)
Quarter-final: defeated Lesia Tsurenko (6-1, 6-1)
Semi-final: defeated  Madison Keys (6-2, 6-4)
Osaka leads 1-0 (2018 Miami Open 6-3, 6-2)
It’s a very interesting match we have on our hands here. Usually it’s Williams using her power to overwhelm her opponents, but in this case her opponent in Osaka has every bit as much power at her disposal. I wouldn’t read into the 1-0 head-to-head record that Osaka holds over Williams, as Williams had only just came back to the WTA after an extensive period away.
Experience is something that we feel will reign supreme in this match. Williams has won more Grand Slam titles than Osaka has had birthdays. Look for Williams to take this one out in straight sets.
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