I am sure you agree with me in saying the player who negotiated her way past Osaka in this semi final match she was really odds on favorite to win this tournament given the inexperienced players in the other semi. Williams choked again, not for the first time, at the hands of Naomi Osaka of Japan in straight sets 6-3 6-4. Similar to what happened in her match against Simona Halep in the previous round, holding her serve proved to be problematic. Williams was off to a flyer though getting two break points in no time first game of the match which she converted at the second time of asking. She held serve first time of asking to race to a 2-0 lead. The tide began to turn when Osaka started making Serena chase after shots more deep on her baseline at 2-1 Serena. A nervous Williams hit a forehand long off Osaka’s baseline at break point 2-1 to give Osaka the break back, scores level at 2-2. Serena’s game plan to attack the first serve of Osaka aggressively worked to an extent but she was let down by wayward hitting. Osaka broke Williams at 3-2 up, Serena employing the kick serve which was being gobbled up by Naomi all day long. You could see the way Serena was hitting wayward shots that her confidence was disappearing. It was 5-2 Naomi in no time.A much better service game by Williams for the loss of one point made Naomi work for her set at 5-3, great first serves with power what we know Serena is all about.But with the way Serena was hitting returns today there was no denying Naomi the set. We could call her Serena”Shanked shot”Williams after this game.6-3 to Osaka first set.
Second set, Williams up to serve first. Clearly upset at herself, she picked off where she left off in the first set. Unforced error hell. Now down to 30-40 having hit the net with what looked like a routine forehand, Naomi punished her for her poor foot work to smash a backhand winner cross court top right corner with a bit of net cord on the way. Up 1-0, Naomi smashed two aces at 30-30 to snuff out the danger to lead 2-0. She surprised me in out-acing Williams 6 to 3 in this match.Williams desperately needed to hold serve next game. She duly did going for power first serve. 2-1 Naomi. Game went on serve until the seventh game at 4-3 Osaka serving.A poor service game from Osaka gave the all important break back to Williams despite despite the Japanese fighting back from 0-40 to 30-40, through double fault ONE OF EIGHT FOR THE MATCH for Osaka. Just when Serena thought she was back in the match, Osaka shot 4 winners to break Williams once again this time to love leaving her to serve out the match at 5-4. A masterclass on how to serve out a game is what she showed us. Great first serves in giving Williams no chance. Game set match Osaka. She awaits the winner of surprise semi finalists Brady and Muchova.
Serena has to wait until the French Open to have another go at the Grand Slam record. I am getting this funny feeling that time is running out for her.