Serena Williams swats aside Anastasija Sevastova to reach US Open final

Dean Simpson
September 7, 2018

But Keys, the highest seed remaining in NY at 14, will get another opportunity to feature in the final following her 6-4, 6-3 win over Suarez Navarro on Wednesday.

Spanish 30th seed Suarez Navarro, playing in her second US Open quarter-final, has made this stage by seeing off French sixth seed Caroline Garcia as well as former champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, Osaka won a Masters title at Indian Wells and with her strong run in NY, where she will next play 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys, she has picked up more of a following from the Japanese media - though she believes there's a different reason for that.

The 20-year-old is the youngest player left in the draw.

Prior to this meeting, though, it is the first semi-final, between Serena Williams and Anastasia Sevastova, starting at midnight.

"I was really nervous, I remember", said Nishikori of the Flushing final, the closest he's come to a major trophy.

Osaka, who lived in her native Japan until she was 3, started playing tennis in NY after her father saw the Williams sisters playing at the French Open in 1999 and chose to teach his daughters.

Keys and Suarez Navarro met three times previously, with Keys winning all three matches in three sets.

She leads Osaka 3-0 in head to head and most recently defeated the 20th seed in straight sets in the third round at Roland Garros in June.

The Latvian's own serve was landing legally at a respectable 60% coming into the semi-final, but it dipped here and her reliance on placement over speed was exposed when Williams broke back in the fourth game, and again for 4-2. Part of this has to do with her style of play. She's still in search of major title No. 1.

It was another hot afternoon Wednesday, with temperatures in the high-80s (30s Celsius) but feeling some 10 degrees hotter with the humidity.

"I hate matches like this", said Tsurenko.

On creating history, Osaka added: "I just try to play one match at a time and I'm just grateful people were cheering for me". I remember I wasn't there for the match.

That victory became undeniable as Williams rushed through the second set in 27 minutes, bagelling her dazzled foe, who at times was almost knocked off balance by the power in the champion's shot.

Osaka celebrated her win calmly and coolly unlike the floods of tears which greeted her last-16 victory over Aryna Sabalenka. 'They wanted to see me play and I wanted to give them the best that I can.

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