Tennis phenom Naomi Osaka denied legend Serena Williams a spot within the 2021 Australian Open ultimate along with her semi’s victory. Some Serena followers now assume she could have performed in Melbourne for the final time.
In a rematch of the 2018 U.S. Open ladies’s singles ultimate, Serena Williams, 39, took on Naomi Osaka, 23, within the semi-finals of the 2021 Australian Open. Four years faraway from Serena’s final Grand Slam title – the 2017 Australian Open, which she gained whereas pregnant – the tennis icon was again within the hunt for her record-tying twenty fourth title. Standing in her means was the girl who denied her that history-making accomplishment three years in the past, the rising star of the game, Naomi. She as soon as once more stopped Serena’s path to historical past in a dominant straight set 6-3 6-4 victory.
Serena Williams exhibits grace in defeat after Naomi Osaka beat her in straight units to advance to the 2021 Australian Open ultimate. Photo credit score: AP.
Serena has some followers apprehensive that this may occasionally have been her final journey to Melbourne. After her loss, she took her time to wave a protracted goodbye to the wildly supportive followers within the stands at Rod Laver Arena. She took her loss gracefully, hugging Naomi at middle court docket and congratulating the younger phenom. Fans hope that this gained’t be her ultimate Australian Open, as subsequent yr when the occasion is held, Serena could have turned 40. Even the announcers discovered Serena’s lengthy wave and stroll of the court docket “unusual” and “poignant.” If that is Serena’s ultimate yr on the professional circuit, she nonetheless has one other shot at that Grand Slam report with the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open nonetheless to come back in 2021.
As a Serena Williams fan, that is my first time seeing her react like this after defeat. This has me emotional and apprehensive. I hope she’s not planning to wrap it up quickly.#AusOpen #AustralianOpen2021 pic.twitter.com/O3zbbqNefe
— U N G I L D E D (@Finnick_Junior) February 18, 2021
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 18, 2021
Naomi has cruised her technique to the Semifinals, defeating most of her opponents in two straight units – save two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who took the primary set in her fourth-round matchup with Osaka. Serena had an analogous path to the semi-finals. She struggled to take the primary set in opposition to Anastasia Potapova within the third spherical, however in the end gained 7(7)-6(5), 6-2. Serena misplaced a set to Aryna Sabalenka within the fourth spherical however rebounded to assert victory. Her battle in opposition to Simona Halep within the quarter-finals turned heads with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 victory over 2019 Wimbledon Champion. Having struggled with quickness, Serena had regained her motion and took down the girl ranked No. 2 on the earth. “I definitely think this is the best match I’ve played this tournament for sure,” mentioned Serena afterward, per the Australian Open’s web site.
“I’ve been watching her and I’m sure she’s been watching me,” Serena mentioned of Osaka. “I feel like this is such a good opportunity for me just to keep doing my best. It’s the first Grand Slam of the year for me. I had an incredibly long, arduous off-season. And so, I’m honestly happy with every win I get.”
Willing the 2017 Australian Open put Serena at 23 Grand Slam title wins, only one lower than Margaret Court, who has held the report since 1973. Serena got here near tying it 4 occasions since her 2017 win. After giving beginning to her and Alexis Ohanian’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., Serena returned to the game in 2018. Angelique Kerber defeated her within the 2018 Wimbledon ultimate, misplaced the 2018 U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka, did not defeat Simona Halep within the 2019 Wimbledon ultimate, and got here up quick in opposition to Bianca Andreescu within the 2019 U.S. Open ladies’s singles ultimate. Though 2020 noticed Serena win her first title since maternity go away – the 2020 ASB Classic in Aukland – she was delimited within the third spherical of the 2020 Australian Open, misplaced the semi-finals of the 2020 U.S. Open, and pulled out of the French Open, citing an Achilles damage she sustained throughout her U.S. Open look.
While Serena has been reestablishing herself because the “G.O.A.T.,” Naomi Osaka has secured her spot as the way forward for tennis. She gained the Australian Open in 2019 and the U.S. Open in 2020. During the 2020 U.S. Open, Naomi wore seven totally different face masks, each bearing the title of a Black particular person — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice – killed by police as a protest in opposition to systemic racism and police brutality. She went on to clench her third Major title on the 2020 U.S. Open, defeating two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in three units.