Third seed Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams’ hopes of finally getting that 24th Grand Slam singles title, while seed No.22 Jennifer Brady joined the Japanese in the final with a three-set triumph over first-time major semifinalist Karolina Muchova at the 2021 Australian Open.
Tenth seed Serena Williams established an early 2-0 lead, but Naomi Osaka responded by winning five games in a row and soon afterwards claimed the opening set even with the poor first-serve percentage of 36%.
In the first game of the second set, Osaka broke Williams’ serve and held on to that lead until 4-2. Williams managed to level the set at 4-4, as Osaka made three double faults in her service game, including on break point. Williams’ hopes of forcing the third set were quickly shattered as Osaka didn’t lose a single point since allowing a mini comeback of her opponent and progressed into the final with a 6-3 6-4 victory.
The 39-year-old Williams has been aiming to tie Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam singles titles, the all-time record.
Having lost the first in nine Australian Open semifinals she’s played, Williams was really disappointed and prematurely ended the post-match press conference as she broke down in tears and left.
The major reason for this defeat were definitely errors, as Williams stated:
It was a big error day for me today.
When asked whether putting her hand on her heart while walking off the court to a standing ovation was her way of saying farewell, Williams responded:
If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.
In the second semifinal on Thursday, Jennifer Brady beat seed No.25 Karolina Muchova 6-4 3-6 6-4 to advance to her maiden Grand Slam final at the Australian Open.
In her on-court interview right after the match, Brady was asked to put into words the emotions she was feeling, and she responded:
I can’t feel my legs, my legs are shaking, my heart is racing.
The upcoming championship match in Melbourne will be a repeat of the 2020 US Open semifinal between Osaka and Brady, which both of them say is one of their best matches ever.