The 20-year-old Osaka toppled 2017’s runner-up American Madison Keys 6-2 6-4 on Thursday, earning her a spot in the Grand Slam final against Williams, whom Osaka admired since she started watching the U.S. Open on television as a child.
Wimbledon runner-up Williams, who returned to the sport in March after giving birth last September, is trying to keep thoughts of how close she is to matching Australian Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record out of her mind.
“I’d been a couple steps away at the last grand slam, so I’m definitely not ahead of myself,” said Williams, who fell to Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final.
“I still know that no matter whether I’m in the semi-finals or the finals, I have a really long way to go to win. Again, that proved to be true at Wimbledon.”