Serena Williams will face Naomi Osaka for the first time since her infamous on-court row with umpire, Carlos Ramos, during the US Open Final in 2018.
Two of tennis’ biggest stars will play each other for the first time since Osaka’s victory at Flushing Meadows in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Toronto. The 2018 US Open final was marred by the conflict between Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos in which Williams was penalised for multiple violations and called Ramos a ‘thief’ and a ‘liar’.
Williams spoke earlier this year of her reconciliation with Osaka and the messages of support the two women had shared following the emotional backlash both received after the match. Responding to Williams’ apology and explanation, Osaka showed a wiseness beyond her years.
“People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two. No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing,” she said. Osaka, 21, went on to back to back Grand slam wins at the Australian Open earlier this year, propelling her to world number 1 ranking for the first time in her career.
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Osaka has beaten her childhood idol Williams in both of their two previous meetings and Williams will be looking to secure another win after a spell of inconsistent form. Meanwhile, Osaka is battling it out with Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic in the race to regain top spot in the world rankings, rising above Australian Ashleigh Barty. Ahead of the rematch with Williams, she spoke of the inspiration the Williams sisters were for her and her sister as young tennis players.
“I am really excited to be playing Serena, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“She’s like my tennis mom. She’s someone that I grew up watching and admire so much. I’m pretty sure a lot of people will be watching that match. Hopefully, I can play well against her.”