Naomi Osaka Defeats Serena Williams In Dominant Australian Open Semifinals Win
Tennis phenom, Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams as she denied her a place in the 2021 Australian Open final with her semi’s victory. Some Serena fans now think she may have played in Melbourne for the last time.
In a rematch of the 2018 U.S. Open women’s singles final, Serena Williams, 39, took on Naomi Osaka, 23, in the semi-finals of the 2021 Australian Open. Four years removed from Serena’s last Grand Slam title – the 2017 Australian Open, which she won while pregnant – the tennis icon was back in the hunt for her record-tying 24th title. Standing in her way was the woman who denied her that history-making accomplishment three years ago, the rising star of the sport, Naomi. She once again stopped Serena’s path to history in a dominant straight set 6-3 6-4 victory.
Serena has some fans worried that this may have been her last trip to Melbourne. After her loss, she took her time to wave a long goodbye to the wildly supportive fans in the stands at Rod Laver Arena. She took her loss gracefully, hugging Naomi at center court and congratulating the young phenom. Fans hope that this won’t be her final Australian Open, as next year when the event is held, Serena will have turned 40. Even the announcers found Serena’s long wave and walk of the court “unusual” and “poignant.” If this is Serena’s final year on the pro circuit, she still has another shot at that Grand Slam record with the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open still to come in 2021.
As a Serena Williams fan, this is my first time seeing her react like this after defeat. This has me emotional and worried. I hope she’s not planning to wrap it up soon.#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 way to the Semifinals, defeating most of her opponents in two straight sets – save two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza, who took the first set in her fourth-round matchup with Osaka. Serena had a similar path to the semi-finals. She struggled to take the first set against Anastasia Potapova in the third round, but ultimately won 7(7)-6(5), 6-2. Serena lost a set to Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth round but rebounded to claim victory. Her battle against Simona Halep in 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 movement and took down the woman ranked No. 2 in the world. “I definitely think this is the best match I’ve played this tournament for sure,” said Serena afterward, per the Australian Open’s website.
“I’ve been watching her and I’m sure she’s been watching me,” Serena said 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.”
While Serena has been reestablishing herself as the “G.O.A.T.,” Naomi Osaka has secured her spot as the future of tennis. She won the Australian Open in 2019 and the U.S. Open in 2020. During the 2020 U.S. Open, Naomi wore seven different face masks, each one bearing the name of a Black person — Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice – killed by police as a protest against systemic racism and police brutality. She went on to clench her third Major title at the 2020 U.S. Open, defeating two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in three sets.