Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams’ bid to win her 24th Grand Slam singles title and match Margaret Court’s career record, setting up a clash against Jennifer Brady.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Osaka charged past 23-time major champion Serena Williams, 6-3, 6-4, in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday, advancing to the fourth Grand Slam final of her career and putting herself one win away from her second Australian Open crown.
The veteran American broke Osaka in the opening game, but the Japanese third seed reeled off five straight games in a devastating display before closing out the set with a blazing forehand winner.
Whiles Williams was dumped out in straight sets, 22nd seed Jennifer Brady ensured the United States would have another finalist a year after Sofia Kenin upset Garbine Muguruza for the 2020 championship. Jen Brady advanced to her first Grand Slam final with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over No. 25 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic. Muchova had stunned world No. 1 Ash Barty in the quarterfinals.
Osaka and Brady will now face off on Saturday for the year’s first major trophy, with Osaka holding a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head rivalry.
Their most recent meeting was a three-set classic at last year’s US Open, where Osaka had to fend off a spirited challenge by her opponent in Brady’s first-ever major semifinal.