‘I love you’, Osaka tells US Open final opponent Serena

Naomi Osaka had a straight-sets win over Madison Keys

Serena Williams has a shot at making history on Saturday at the US Open.

Williams, who is approaching her 37th birthday at the end of the month, said of her return: "This is just the beginning".

The roof was closed hours earlier because of a forecast calling for rain and strong wind, and so the screams and applause reverberated through the place whenever spectators roared for Williams, during the pre-match introductions, when she stepped to the baseline to serve in the opening game, and then after almost every point she won. I mean, hopefully I won't play like that again.

Williams has improved as the tournament has progressed but faces a stern challenge against the impressive Osaka, who like Williams has only lost one set during the fortnight in NY.

Sevastova was no match for Williams.

For me, a great deal of this match-up will depend on how Osaka copes with the stage and the opponent.

The US Open 2018, Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka Final match will be shown live on Star Network. She will be seeking her 24th Grand Slam title, which would tie the modern-day record of Margaret Court, who claimed her last championship in 1973.

After winning her first Masters title at Indian Wells earlier this year, she made what she described as "the worst acceptance speech of all time" - nervously saying her "thank yous" before awkwardly lifting the trophy and posing for photographs.

Williams and Osaka set up US Open showdown
Naomi Osaka stands in way of her idol Serena Williams

While she already holds the record for the most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, Court's overall record of 24 majors has loomed large over Serena as she returned from pregnancy. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year and next year.

"It's honestly really incredible", she said of reaching a second Grand Slam final of the year, after a runner-up finish at Wimbledon.

Williams had lost in the semifinals in her previous two trips to NY - against Roberta Vinci in 2015 while bidding for a calendar-year Grand Slam, and against Karolina Pliskova in 2016.

Two years later, a beaming Pliskova sat in the press conference room following her defeat of Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round of the 2018 US Open.

There is more Black Girl Magic that happened at the US Open: Sloane Stephens won the tournament a year ago, but the defending champion's run ended Tuesday in the quarterfinals with a defeat.

"I have nothing to lose", added Williams, who can join Australians Court, Evonne Goolagong and Belgian Kim Clijsters as the only mothers to win a Grand Slam singles title. While she was born in Japan, her family moved to the United States when she was three years old and she grew up idolizing Williams. I've never seen her work that hard. It took her just 23 minutes to win the first five games of the second set.

But even if it's not Saturday, she believes it will happen.

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