Serena Williams was not ready to say her career was winding down following Wednesday’s 6-3, 6-4 loss to Naomi Osaka in the 2021 Australian Open semifinals.
The legendary 23-time Grand Slam champion was asked if she was saying goodbye as she exited Rod Laver Arena and replied, “I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
Serena is one Grand Slam title away from Margaret Court’s record of 24 and has seven Australian Open championships, seven Wimbledon championships, six U.S. Open championships and three French Open championships on her resume.
Much of the ESPN broadcast discussed how Osaka (23 years old) idolized Williams (39) growing up. And it’s nothing short of amazing that Williams is still reaching the semifinals of majors and playing against women who remember watching her as children.
Osaka was the better player Wednesday and didn’t look back after an early rally to prevent Williams from seizing a 3-0 lead in the opening set with a break point.
Osaka won five straight games after losing the first two on her way to a first-set victory and then notched a break and service win to close out the second set after it was tied at four games apiece.
Osaka is the rare player who can match Williams’ power and control rallies, and she did it throughout to improve to 3-1 in head-to-head meetings. Two of those three victories came under Grand Slam pressure, as she also defeated Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open final.