Naomi Osaka is first Japanese woman to reach U.S. Open final
NEW YORK - The women's final of this year's U.S. Open will feature the first-ever finalist representing Japan, as Naomi Osaka defeated Madison Keys 6-2 and 6-4 in the semifinal match on Sept. 6.
Osaka, 20, advances to the Sept. 8 final match versus Serena Williams. The finalist with a Japanese mother and Haitian father was born in Japan and was ranked 19th when she defeated No. 14 Keys (who, coincidentally, was the women's runner-up of last year's U.S. Open).
Williams, 36, is seeking her seventh U.S. Open win; she previously won in 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The younger Williams sister began her professional tennis career in October 1995 - two years before Osaka birth (she was born in October 1997).
Osaka defeated seven opponents to reach the U.S. Open women's final. Her victories cames against Germany's Laura Siegemund (Round of 128), Julia Glushko (Round of 64), Belarus's Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Round of 32), Belarus's Aryna Sabalenka (Round of 16), Ukraine's Lesia Tsurenko (Quarterfinal) and USA's Keys (Semifinal).
The Japanese-born tennis player moved to the United States when she was three. Osaka, who now lives in Florida, started her professional career in 2013 - coincidentally the same year the younger Williams sister won a U.S. Open title. Osaka joined the Wormen's Tennis Association in July 2014 and her first Grand Slam event in January 2016 (Australian Open). She won the Indian Wells Masters, one of the biggest non-Grand Slam events in tennis, earlier this year.
The Osaka-Williams final match will begin at 4 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sept. 8. Williams and Osaka are 16 years apart, the second-largest age game between women finalists in a Grand Slam event.
The U.S. Open's men's semifinal also has a Japanese entry. No. 21 Kei Nishikori will face No. 6 Novak Djokovic at 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sept. 7. It is the first time the U.S. Open has ever had two Japanese players in the men's and women's semifinal. The winner of the Nishikori-Djokovic semifinal will either face No. 1 Rafael Nadal or No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro.