Australian Open 2021 LIVE updates: Naomi Osaka beats Serena Williams in straight sets, into the final

australian-open-2021-live-updates:-naomi-osaka-beats-serena-williams-in-straight-sets,-into-the-final

10:29 (IST)

Karolina Muchova 0-2 Jennifer Brady* (* denotes next server)

Karolina Muchova’s opening serve is rather less impressive, as she misses the first serve and is then drawn into a rally on the second serve, with Brady taking the point. A point apiece for either player, before Jennifer Brady gets to break point with a beautiful inside out forehand winner. Brady seals the break thanks to an unforced error from Muchova and she has an early lead!

10:25 (IST)

Karolina Muchova* 0-1 Jennifer Brady (* denotes next server)

Jennifer Brady gets us underway with her service games, and she begins with a huge ace. The next three serves are also top-notch quality, and Karolina Muchova doesn’t get anywhere near to making a successful return on any of them. Brady holds to love.

10:21 (IST)

Jennifer Brady’s path to the semi-final!

10:19 (IST)

Karolina Muchova’s path to the semi-final!

10:16 (IST)

Up next, it’s Jennifer Brady vs Karolina Muchova!

10:13 (IST)

Excited fans drifted back to the Australian Open on Thursday after a snap five-day lockdown in Melbourne was eased, determined to create some atmosphere over the final days of a tournament severely disrupted by the coronavirus. Click here to read more about the norms and measures that have been put in place to ensure their safety.

10:10 (IST)

Naomi Osaka speaks after the match:

I think I had a lot of unforced errors in the first few games, I was nervous and scared in the beginning, but I worked my way back into it. It was a bit unsettling, having the crowd back. I just didn’t want to go out of the tournament.

I don’t know if there are any little kids out here today, but I was a kid watching Serena play and she was my hero. But at the end of the day, now we’re both competitors, and that’s the most fun part of what we do, playing against such great athletes.

Everyone’s always excited and nervous when they play their first final. I don’t want to wish nerves unsettle anyone, but I really hope whoever I play tomorrow is quite nervous.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been eating Japanese food before my matches, but before this match I ate Greek food, and Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Rafael Nadal, so maybe that’s a sign?

10:02 (IST)

Game, Set, Match: Naomi Osaka wins 6-3, 6-4!

Naomi Osaka begins with an ace, that was hit with real conviction. Her next serve is a big one as well, and Serena’s return flies wide of the doubles alley. Another huge serve that Serena is unable to return, three match points for Osaka! She only needs the one, she holds serve to love to eliminate Serena Williams and book a spot in the final!

10:00 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 6-3, 5-4 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Huge first point of the game, as Osaka hits a screamer of a backhand winner down the line. She makes it 0-30 with another backhand winner, this one going across the court. Good play from Osaka after a poor service game. Serena Williams then double faults for the first time in the match to give Naomi Osaka three break points. Osaka breaks with a backhand winner and she will serve for a spot in the final!

09:56 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 6-3, 4-4 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Great start from Serena in the game, as she wins the first two points, thanks to an error from Osaka and a double fault. Make that two double faults. In just over a minute, Osaka has gone from looking confident and in control to looking nervous and unsure. Three breakpoints in Serena’s bag here. Make that two, She hits a return long. Make that one, she’s hit another long. Serena breaks! It’s a third double fault in the game. Osaka challenges, but it’s well wide. It’s all square!

09:56 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 6-3, 4-4 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Great start from Serena in the game, as she wins the first two points, thanks to an error from Osaka and a double fault. Make that two double faults. In just over a minute, Osaka has gone from looking confident and in control to looking nervous and unsure. Three breakpoints in Serena’s bag here. Make that two, She hits a return long. Make that one, she’s hit another long. Serena breaks! It’s a third double fault in the game. Osaka challenges, but it’s well wide. It’s all square!

09:53 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 6-3, 4-3 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams continue to trade holds in this second set, but Serena desperately needs a break if she has any hope of winning this match. Osaka looks calm, and she seems to be handling most of what Serena is throwing her way with ease. 

09:46 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 6-3, 3-2 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

A hold apiece for both players, but Serena Williams looks a lot more comfortable than she did 10 minutes ago. She’s got the crowd on her side, and it really looks like she might be able to push Osaka a little more. She’s running out of time though. Sidenote, Osaka has really been going for her second serves, meaning she has five double faults to Serena’s zero. 

09:37 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 6-3, 2-1 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Serena Williams is drawn into a rare rally by Naomi Osaka, who manages to force the American into an error. Serena gets a slice of luck though, as Osaka’s return on the next point clips the top of the net and falls back onto her side. A couple of big serves later, Serena manages to hold a service game, and it feels like a very big moment in the match.

09:33 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 6-3, 2-0 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Great work from Osaka on the first point of the game, as she pushes Serena wide with the serve, and then leaves her stranded as she goes to the other side of the court. She wins another point, before Serena unleashes a leaping backhand winner. Serena wins the next point as well, putting a bit of pressure on Osaka, but the World No 3 hits back-to-back aces to hold serve!

09:30 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 6-3, 1-0 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Serena Williams gets us rolling with a service game in the second set. Serena looks a bit rattled here, as she screams at herself despite winning a point. She’s all too aware that she’s not playing at her best levels just yet. Osaka meanwhile quietly plugs away and fights her way to break point, before getting the break with a thunderous backhand winner that zips off the court and beyond the reach of Serena.

09:26 (IST)

First Set: Naomi Osaka wins 6-3

Naomi Osaka holds serve to take the first set 6-3! The Japanese star began really poorly, being broken in her very first service game, but she shows real determination and strength of character to work her way towards a huge lead in this semi-final match. Serena is in trouble, but she’s not out of this yet, not by a long shot.

09:23 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 5-3 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Serena Williams really needs to hold serve here, and she begins in style, as a botched return from Osaka and a belter of an ace get her to 30-0. Osaka then manages to engage in a long rally, which ends with an error from Serena. Two more mistakes from Osaka and Serena holds serve!

09:20 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 5-2 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Osaka began the game looking a bit unsure of herself, but she’s improved vastly in a very short period of time. She blazes through her service game, holding to love. Serena will now serve to stay in the first set. Can she find an answer to Osaka’s big-hitting dominance?

09:17 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 4-2 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Serena begins with a gorgeous first serve that’s nice and wide, which Osaka is unable to return, before hitting a pretty routine forehand quite wide. Another error and a blistering backhand down the line from Osaka sees Williams surrender two break points to her Japanese counterpart, who seals the game with a forehand winner! How the tables have turned!

09:14 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 3-2 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Another hard-fought set ends with Naomi Osaka holding serve. She was pushed all the way by Serena though, who had a break point, and then took Osaka to deuce on two occasions. Both players look really locked in, and we could be looking at a future classic here.

09:06 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 2-2 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Well it took her a moment or two, but Naomi Osaka has finally turned up to this Australian Open semi-final! After looking like she was about to surrender yet another game to Serena with little fight, Osaka moves through the gears and battles to a break. Game on!

09:02 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 1-2 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Naomi Osaka anages to hold serve, but it was a difficult game, in which Serena had a break point that was gifted to her by an Osaka double fault. The Japanese star will need to tighten things up if she has any hopes of denying an in-form Serena Williams a berth in the final. 

08:54 (IST)

Naomi Osaka* 0-2 Serena Williams (* denotes next server)

Naomi Osaka looks like the sun is really bothering her right now. Serena, on the other hand, looks quite calm. She wins the first point in her first service game with an ace. An error from Osaka and a lovely bit of play from Serena see the American move into a 40-0 lead in the game, before Osaka claws back a point thanks to a Serena mistake. Game Williams though, she leads by 2-0 now in the first set.

08:50 (IST)

Naomi Osaka 0-1 Serena Williams* (* denotes next server)

Naomi Osaka gets us underway with the serve, and she wins the first point with ease before a backhand winner from Serena levels it at 15-15. First sign of nerves from Osaka as she double faults to make it 15-30, before hitting a shot wide to give Serena two early break points. Serena hits a return long, and now she’s down to one break point. And she converts it into a break, what a start for the American!

08:39 (IST)

The players are out onto the court and we’re just about ready to go!

via GIPHY

08:22 (IST)

Serena Williams will become the second-oldest Grand Slam women’s singles semi-finalist of all time when she walks onto the court today. Talk about longevity!

08:15 (IST)

Who are your picks for the women’s singles semi-finals?

08:09 (IST)

Serena Williams’ path to the semi-final!

08:02 (IST)

Naomi Osaka’s path to the semi-final!

07:49 (IST)

Up first, it’s Naomi Osaka vs Serena Williams!

07:35 (IST)

Hello and welcome to Firstpost.com‘s coverage of the Australian Open!

We’re down to our final four competitors in the men’s and women’s singles, and today promises to be an exciting one. To kick things off, Naomi Osaka will take on Serena Williams in a battle for a spot in the final, while the other semi-final sees Karolina Muchova up against Jennifer Brady! We also have a men’s singles semi-final in store for us, as Novak Djokovic takes on Russia’s Aslan Karatsev. Stay tuned as we bring you the live score and all the latest updates!

Preview: Novak Djokovic will look to stay on track for an 18th Grand Slam title, while Serena Williams has the formidable figure of Naomi Osaka blocking her path to a record-equalling 24th when the Australian Open semi-finals begin on Thursday.

Around 7,500 fans will be back on a reduced capacity Rod Laver Arena, after a five-day state coronavirus lockdown, but Djokovic will be in unknown territory in the night match against Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev, who he has never played before.

The world number one, who has been hampered by an abdominal injury, confessed he had not seen much of the tournament’s surprise semi-finalist — who has already seen off three seeds — but that he wouldn’t take the world number 114 lightly.

“He’s impressed a lot of people with his movement and firepower from the baseline,” said Djokovic of Karatsev.

Serena Williams will take on Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semi-finals, while Novak Djokovic will be up against Aslan Karatsev. AP

“He doesn’t have anything to lose, really. He’s motivated.”

Karatsev, who is guaranteed to rise into the world’s top 50, is the first man in the Open era to reach a semi-final on his Grand Slam debut, and just the second qualifier to do so at the Australian Open after Bob Giltinan in 1977.

Earlier Williams, the 10th seed, opens proceedings on Rod Laver against Osaka aiming to keep alive her dream of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam crown, wary of again falling victim to the Japanese superstar who beat her in the 2018 US Open final.

The winner will play for the championship on Saturday against either Czech 25th seed Karolina Muchova or American 22nd seed Jennifer Brady, who clash in the second semi-final on Melbourne Park’s main show court.

‘Bring my A-game’

Williams, 39, sits one behind Margaret Court’s elusive all-time mark of 24 majors after losing four Slam finals since her 2017 victory at Melbourne Park while pregnant.

One of those was the controversial 2018 US Open final defeat to Osaka, where the American star was docked a point and a game after losing her temper when warned about coaching.

Osaka was booed by some fans and was in tears during the awards ceremony, later calling what should have been her moment of glory “a little bittersweet”.

Williams said both players had reached “closure” on the painful moment, which has seen them inextricably linked ever since.

They have played each other just once since that New York meeting, in the quarter-finals of the 2019 Rogers Cup in Toronto which Williams won in straight sets.

Brady will face Muchova in the other semi-final, with a maiden Slam final guaranteed for one of them.

Muchova, fresh from her upset of top-ranked Ashleigh Barty on Wednesday, said she had noted Brady’s “very big strokes” in their one previous meeting, when she beat the American in Prague in 2019.

“So definitely going to be a tough battle,” she said of Brady, who toppled compatriot Jessica Pegula to make her second major semi-final after last year’s US Open.

“I think I will have to bring my A-game to play with her because she is really playing amazing matches, having a good season.”

With inputs from AFP.

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