By Ros Satar
- Serena Williams  def. Anastasija Sevastova  6-3 6-0
- Naomi Osaka  def. Madison Keys  6-2 6-4
NEW YORK, USA – The US Open Women’s Singles final has been set as Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka both eye up a little bit of history.
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Serena Williams  def. Anastasija Sevastova  6-3 6-0
It seems scarcely believable that a year ago Serena Williams was on a third surgery following complications after the birth of her daughter, and now 12 months on, she is into a second Slam final since her tentative comeback on the tour at Indian Wells.
Anastasija Sevastova had achieved a milestone of her own by getting past the quarter-finals and downing defending champion Sloane Stephens in the process. In fact, she started the more aggressive of the two with an immediate break but once Williams pegged her back after the first change of ends, the six-time champion absolutely did not look back.
Two breaks in succession for the American was enough to give her the first set, as she went on a seven-game chase. Sevastova fought hard to resist in the opening game of the second set, saving three break points, before losing that game, and from that point Williams was on a role. She broke twice with little resistance, before closing out the match, and a place in her ninth US Open final.
As reported in USOpen.org, Williams said: “It’s honestly really incredible. A year ago I was fighting for literally my life at the hospital after I had the baby. Every day I step on this court I’m so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport. No matter what happens in any match, semis, finals, I just feel like I’ve already won.”
She added: “Just been working really hard. Like I said, this is just the beginning of my return. I’m still on the way up. There’s still much more that I plan on doing. You don’t reach your best a couple months in. That’s kind of where I am now. I just feel like there’s a lot of growth to still go in my game. That’s actually the most exciting part.”
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Naomi Osaka  def. Madison Keys  6-2 6-4
It was a step to far for Madison Keys to make it an all American final once more, as she fell to Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka. The No. 20 seed has already made history by becoming the first Japanese woman in the Open era to make a Grand Slam final, as she coasted past Keys in the second semi-final.
Osaka’s quirky demeanour off-court or post-match made way for another business-like performance. Even though Keys was the first to pressurise with four chances to break, she could not convert, and getting broken herself in the next two games added to that frustration, as Osaka coasted to the first set.
Osaka, who has had to field questions about her Haitian and Japanese heritage and her time based in the USA, not only started the second set with a break, but fended off six break points for a crucial hold for a break advantage she never looked in danger of relinquishing. Another break point chance came and went for Keys, but it was not her day to convert as the dream of a second Slam final fell away, giving Osaka her first win over Keys – and what a time to do it.
Interviewed on court (as per USOpen.org), Osaka said: “This still feels really weird, because I’ve never beaten Madison before. She’s such a good player. I just tried to think that I’ve never been in this situation before, [and] I’m just really happy to be here.”
There is no doubt there will be more chances for Keys as the depth in the WTA continues to impress. But for now, she was left ruing her chances to swing things her way.
Speaking after the match, Keys said: “I felt like if I could break, maybe I could get back into it. Every time I had a break point, it was an ace or a winner or something like that.
“You’re in that match and you think, ‘Okay, she’s going to let up eventually.’ She didn’t, so all credit to her…It was really impressive. For a first-time semi-finalist on a big stage and all that, it was really impressive she held her nerve the entire time, never really had any kind of slipup.”
The US Open 2018 Women’s Singles title is scheduled on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday at 4pm (9pm BST).
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