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'I love you', Osaka tells US Open final opponent Serena

08 Septembre 2018

"She got a little bit lucky, I think, on some breaks in the first set". Obviously, I think this year is not bad for her. It will be a really good match. "If it doesn't happen, I'll keep trying for the next one".

Despite playing one of the most complete, dominant matches of her comeback Thursday night, one in which she executed to a T the game plan she and coach Patrick Mouratoglou meticulously crafted, Williams knows not to get ahead of herself before Saturday's final against 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.

This is but a distant memory to her latest achievements on the court. Serena Williams was back in the finals again, but this time she will face off against Naomi Osaka in Queens, New York on Saturday. "I felt like I've lost a lot of matches against players like this".

"It was hard. You think she's going to let up but she didn't". Like, I just think he's, like, a really big kid.

For Williams, the joy of giving birth for the first time last September was quickly followed by a series of complications that led to multiple life-saving surgeries. "So every day I step out on this court, I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport, you know?" Apologies if this is a very dated reference, but the cadence and rhythm of Osaka's voice makes her sound like Alyson Hannigan's character Michelle in the American Pie films.

Another chance came and went in the eighth game and, although Keys was now serving superbly, she just could not find a way through.

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

At Williams' first Open in 1999, Osaka was 11 months old. "I just had to follow it".

She will be heavily backed to claim her first Grand Slam trophy since winning last year's Australian Open and equal Margaret Court's record of 24 majors.

Osaka beat former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia in 2014, not long after becoming a professional.

As TIME notes, Osaka, like the rest of us, is a huge Serena Williams fan, and considers her upcoming match against the champ her "dream match".

While both players were making too many errors on the forehand wing, there was certainly no problem with Williams' backhand as she pulled off a glorious pass in the next game.

Soon the 23-time Grand Slam victor had reeled off five games in a row as she assumed complete control and the set followed swiftly after.

On Saturday, Williams will play Naomi Osaka, the 20-seed and a rising star from Japan.

Then, having broken in the opening game of the second set, Osaka fended off six break points in an epic second game, much to the frustration of Keys, who had seen 12 openings on her opponent's serve come and go. Then she started feeling better. Add that to her usual powerful baseline game and always superb serve, which reached 120 miles per hour (194 kph), and this really was no contest at all.

'I love you', Osaka tells US Open final opponent Serena