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Naomi Osaka Becomes First Japanese Woman in Grand Slam Final

Naomi Osaka Becomes First Japanese Woman in Grand Slam FinalNaomi Osaka Becomes First Japanese Woman in Grand Slam Final

Naomi Osaka announced her arrival on the big stage at the US Open on Thursday, beating last year’s runner-up Madison Keys 6-2 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final and set up a clash with her childhood idol Serena Williams.

The 20-year-old Osaka, who is the first Japanese woman to reach a singles final of a Grand Slam, had to fight harder than the score suggested to get past 14th seed Keys, who paid the price for a lack of killer instinct.

The American carved out 13 break point opportunities, but Osaka saved all of them and was far more clinical herself, converting three of the four chances that came her way, Reuters reported.

Osaka won her first career title at Indian Wells this year but had never beaten Keys before in three attempts and lost to the American at Flushing Meadows in 2016.

The nerves surfaced when the Japanese found herself trailing 0-40 in her second service game, but she managed to keep it together, battling back to deuce and saving another break point to hold and level the opener at 2-2.

The roles were reversed in the next game. Osaka carved out two break points and although Keys saved the first one, she forced an error on the American’s forehand to take a 3-2 lead.

The Japanese saved two more break points in her next service game and then it was Keys’s turn to get rattled.

The American made three unforced errors as she lost her serve to love.

Osaka found herself serving for the set and she closed it out in 37 minutes.

Keys emerged for the second set with an air of determination but she surrendered her serve in the first game with her 21st unforced error of the match.

That was the tipping point and Osaka wrapped up the win in one hour, 26 minutes with a service winner, breaking into a smile as the ball flew off the frame of Keys’ racquet and into the crowd.

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