Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have faced off in Grand Slam tournaments before, most famously in the U.S. Open 2018 women's singles final

By Lindsay Kimble
February 17, 2021 11:55 PM
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Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams lost in her 40th Grand Slam semifinal, falling to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open women's singles semifinals.

After taking the opening set 6-3, Osaka achieved her twentieth consecutive win when she beat Williams 6-3, 6-4. After the match, the two athletes shared a hug on the court before Williams walked off to cheers from the Melbourne crowd.

Osaka, 23, will now play in the Australian Open women's singles final on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Her opponent has yet to be determined but will be either Karolina Muchova or Jennifer Brady.

Osaka last won the Australian Open in 2019, while Williams was victorious last in 2017, her seventh title at the Grand Slam tournament.

Serena Williams

Ahead of the match, Williams, 39, called Osaka an "incredible opponent" during a press conference for the open. She also praised the young athlete as a "very strong player."

"I feel like she does everything well, she has a good serve, she has a great return, she's strong on both sides," Williams said.

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Osaka and Williams have played each other several times before in tournaments. Osaka won over Williams in the first round of the 2018 Miami Open, and then beat the mom of one in the women's singles final of the 2018 U.S. Open. But Williams struck back when she beat Osaka at the 2019 Rogers Cup.

Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams

Osaka's big win over Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open is memorable to many but the match was also marred by a verbal altercation between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos. Williams was given three separate on-court violations and later suggested that the umpire's actions were motivated by sexism.

Tune into the Tennis Channel to watch the match, and for daily coverage of the tournament.