Osaka advances to Australian Open final

NHK -- Feb 18
Japanese tennis star Osaka Naomi has beaten Serena Williams in two straight sets to advance to the women's singles final at the Australian Open.

Osaka, currently ranked 3rd in the world, faced Williams in the semifinals in Melbourne on Thursday.

Osaka got off to a shaky start, handing a break to the 11th-ranked Williams. But after losing the first two games, Osaka took control with her powerful strokes. She won five games in a row to finally grab the set 6-3.

Osaka maintained her momentum in the second set with her serves and backhands, clinching the set 6-4.

Osaka's 2-0 victory ended William's bid to win another Grand Slam title. She currently holds the record of 23 career Grand Slam titles.

Osaka said she was really nervous and scared at the beginning and made a lot of unforced errors. But she said she decided to have fun because there was a crowd inside the arena.

Spectators were allowed back in from Thursday, after a coronavirus lockdown for Melbourne was lifted the previous day.

Osaka said it's always an honor to play Williams and that she "didn't want to go out really bad." She said she just wanted to do her best.

Osaka will be playing in her second Australian Open final on Saturday. She won the title in 2019.

- NHK