Serena or Osaka? We hit the NY streets to ask fans

Williams will compete for her seventh US Open title at Flushing Meadows this weekend

Williams will compete for her seventh US Open title at Flushing Meadows this weekend

Naomi Osaka walked into her news conference on Thursday night looking as if she were in a daze. But her path to victory starts with the right mentality.

The 20-year-old Osaka, the first Japanese woman to make a Grand Slam final in the Open era, beat Williams, her idol, 6-3, 6-2, in Miami in Williams' second tournament back after maternity leave. But Osaka didn't crack a smile.

Osaka is probably the most prominent mixed-race Japanese female athlete to enter the limelight and playing Williams, who is 16 years her senior, in the U.S. Open final was a dream come true, she said. "When I was a little kid I always dreamed I would play Serena in a Grand Slam final", Osaka said. "This is just the beginning and I'm really excited about that". "Now only a year later, I'm not training, but I'm actually in these finals, in two in a row", Williams continued, referring also to her advance to the Wimbledon final.

Serena Williams will equal Margaret Court's all-time Grand Slam record if she defeats Grand Slam debutant Naomi Osaka in the US Open final on Saturday. I should still think of it as another match. "No matter what happens in any match, semis, finals, I just feel like I've already won". But Osaka struggled from there. She was handed early exits at the Citi Open, the Rogers Cup and Cincinnati.

After killing it her semifinal round, Osaka said in her post game interview she went extra hard specifically so she could play against Williams, according to BBC.

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Safe to say, those losses feel like a lifetime ago.

She won her first career title at Indian Wells this year but had never beaten Keys before in three attempts and lost to the American at Flushing Meadows in 2016. The bright lights of Ashe didn't seem to faze her against Madison Keys, and she'll need to approach Saturday like it's any other match. "She was very impressive". "I think it may be slightly more focusing on me", the 20-year-old said. It will be a really good match. Hopefully I won't play like that again.

She's not alone in her complimentary words. Leading up to the match, Sevastova's versatile game had been compared to Karolina Pliskova's and Roberta Vinci's - the players who had beaten Williams in her two most recent trips to the semifinals in NY. If not the present. She hits with as much pace and penetration as any player and can generate this easy power because her ball-striking is so clean.

I've been watching Serena Williams and Venus Williams play the game of tennis since their 1st Grand Slam. She then, in ideal form, clarified that was, in fact, the "Pokemon" theme song, but insisted the intent was still true.

The 20-year-old, who grew up in NY and Florida, has Flushing Meadows buzzing about her lethal skills and disarming charm.

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All of this comes 370 days after Williams gave birth to her first child on September 1, 2017, which forced her to miss almost the entire tennis season a year ago. The video then goes on to show Serena in the hospital with her newborn.

Another couple of breaks followed as she fed the Latvian a bagel, and the American will contest her 31st major final at the weekend.

"This next match is the most important match", Mouratoglou told ESPN.com. "You're just asking me".

"But I have an advantage of I have nothing to lose".

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She then dropped her racket and held her hands to her face as a Stephens shot went into the net on the match's final point. She will play the victor of Tuesday's night match between Serena Williams and Karolina Pliskova in the last four.

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