‘Grab your popcorn’: Serena Williams to face Naomi Osaka for first time since infamous US Open final
Japanese youngster Osaka beat 23-time Grand Slam winner Williams to win the US Open title last September, in a match that was marred by Williams’ spectacular outburst at umpire Carlos Ramos.
Osaka and Williams booked a first on-court meeting since that date when they both progressed to the last eight of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Eighth seed Williams defeated Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5 6-4, while second seed Osaka overcame Iga Swiatek of Poland 7-6 (7-4) 6-4.
After the showdown with Osaka was confirmed, Williams, 37, said that she has “been looking forward” to playing the Japanese 21-year-old again.
Osaka said she was also relishing the chance to face Williams, commenting that “whenever I get the opportunity to play her it’s something that I feel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Tennis fans online were already eagerly waiting Friday night's encounter, particularly to see how the interaction between the pair would play out in light of that infamous night in New York 11 months ago.
Most anticipated WTA match of the year? Don't care who wins... I'm just excited to see what their interaction will be like at the net when the match comes to an end.— James (@hiddenjamus) August 9, 2019
Osaka was left in tears amid a chorus of booing at the US Open award ceremony, following Williams’ explosive rant at Portuguese umpire Ramos, whom she had branded a “liar” and a “thief” after he issued her with code violations.
Osaka’s victory in New York sealed her maiden Grand Slam, although she has since gone on to win the Australian Open in January.
The Japanese youngster has relinquished the world number one spot since then after enduring mixed form, but is battling to regain top spot in Toronto with Czech Karolina Pliskova.Also on rt.com 'Worst months of my life': Naomi Osaka opens up on disastrous slump in form
Osaka has beaten Williams – whom she has regularly described as a role model – in each of their two encounters so far.
During the recent Wimbledon championships in England, an article was published in which Williams revealed she had written to Osaka to apologize for her US Open outburst, also saying that she had seen a therapist as she grappled with the aftermath.Also on rt.com 'I started seeing a therapist': Serena Williams reveals apology to Naomi Osaka for US Open meltdown
Osaka admitted in October of last year that she was still “trying to take her mind off” the controversial match at Flushing Meadows.