Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka, US Open 2018 final

Williams has been ruthless in her progression through the draw

Naomi Osaka is 20 years old. Serena, who won 32 consecutive sets in Grand Slam competition in 2002, became the first woman to win three straight majors in the same season since German Steffi Graf in 1996.

Williams says it's hard to gauge just how close she is to her dominant best, but there's no question she's playing far and away above her number 26 world ranking and even the 17th seeding granted by US Open officials.

Osaka was born in Japan but left when she was three years old and raised in the United States.

This is but a distant memory to her latest achievements on the court.

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Madison Keys of the United States (not pictured) in a women's semi-final match on day eleven of the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, the family moved to NY when she was 3 and relocated to Florida a few years later. She holds both Japanese and American citizenship. "But the way she tries to speak in Japanese is so cute", said Yukie Ohashi, a 41-year-old Tokyo resident.

"I can understand way more Japanese than I can speak", Osaka told reporters at USA Today. I had one more to go still. "From my name, they don't expect to see a black girl". Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up, had nothing but praise for Osaka after the match.

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There is more Black Girl Magic that happened at the US Open: Sloane Stephens won the tournament previous year, but the defending champion's run ended Tuesday in the quarterfinals with a defeat. Just the fact that it's happening, I'm very happy about it. "Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in a final of a Grand Slam", Osaka said.

Saturday's U.S. Open final will feature two stars in very different places in their respective careers.

Meanwhile, Osaka's arrival hasn't come without streakiness. She has never played a match of this magnitude.

Williams had to fight back tears as she said: "It's obviously really incredible".

Potentially standing in the way of Barty's maiden grand slam title is fellow Queenslander and two-time women's grand slam doubles champion, Sam Stosur. Nineteen years later, Williams vies to tie Margaret Court's record 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Australia's Margaret Court now holds the record. "A year ago I was literally fighting for my life at the hospital after having the baby", said Williams, who missed last year's US Open because of the birth of her child, Olympia.

For comparison: Williams went to the net on average eight times during the first five games of this tournament.

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