NEW TENNIS STAR NAOMI OSAKA TO FACE SERENA WILLIAMS IN U.S. OPEN FINAL
I’ve been under a rock when it comes to tennis this year. But I finally know about how special Naomi Osaka is. She’s young, engaging, and a breath of fresh air. She’s soft spoken and comfortably awkward. That makes her genuine and charming. So far, she’s in the middle of living the dream. Her success is still so new it may not even feel real. This new tennis star is set to take center stage on Saturday when she faces her idol, Serena Williams, in the Women’s Final at the U.S. Open. So let’s all get ready to introduce ourselves to a future face of women’s tennis, if we haven’t already.
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SERENA NEEDS TO BEAT NAOMI OSAKA TO TIE FOR MOST GRAND SLAMS EVER
At last year’s U.S. Open, Osaka commanded instant attention when she eliminated the defending champion, Angelique Kerber, in the opening round. Now the 20-year-old has a chance at taking a Grand Slam title for the first time. But there’s some history for Osaka’s idol, Serena Williams, as well. If Serena wins, she’ll tie Margaret Court the record with 24 Grand Slam titles. The two have only faced each other across the net once before.
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As for Osaka, she is now the first woman from Japan to ever make it to a Grand Slam final. Obviously, she’s the top player right now in Japan. But Osaka is Japanese and Haitian, which places her in awkward cultural territory in Japan. While Osaka grew up in New York, she holds dual American and Japanese passports. But she plays under the Japanese flag. So why is her mixed heritage awkward? In Japan, they have a term for those of mixed race, hafu, or half Japanese. And yes, the term is discriminatory.
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So far Osaka has taken this all in stride. She told media, “When I go to Japan people are confused. From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.” So far she’s been embraced on the court as a Japanese success. But she’s still figuring it out off the court. But as for Saturday, she’ll need to figure it out on the court if she’s to beat her idol. It will be interesting! Especially as her on court mantra to get thru challenges she faces is just four words: what would Serena do? She’s sure to find out and we’ll get to enjoy a great match.