Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka was far too quick for Serena Williams on Thursday, taking her down in straight sets to make it through to the Australian Open final.
Osaka started off somewhat nervously, losing the first two games but was able to turn it on and hit a series of short balls that 39-year-old Williams was unable to reach.
She won 6-3, 6-4 in 75 minutes at Melbourne Park, and now has a shot at her second Australian Open crown, having won in 2019, and fourth major title.
Third-seeded Osaka will play the winner of Thursday’s second semi-final between American Jennifer Brady and Czech Karolina Muchova.
Serena will have to wait until the next grand slam to continue her path to a record-equalling 24th title.
“I hit a lot of unforced errors in the first couple of games -I was really nervous and sort of scared in the beginning but then I got into it and for me it’s about having fun” Osaka said.
“…It’s always an honour to play her and I just didn’t want to go out really bad… the biggest thing I’ve learnt over the past couple of years is you’re a competitor playing another competitor,” Osaka said about playing one of her heroes.
The pair have now won two matches each against each other.
Asked about her incredible ability to predict Williams’ powerful serve, Osaka said she was guessing.
“I was just guessing you know, it’s either going this way or that way I just gotta put my foot somewhere,” she said.