??? US OPEN: Final Prediction
?? (17) Serena Williams vs. ?? (20) Naomi Osaka
Just 6 months ago Naomi Osaka thrashed Serena Williams 6-3 6-2 at the Miami Open. The pair now meet in Saturday’s final at Flushing Meadows. Williams enters this match as a strong favourite, a 23-time former Grand Slam champion against a first time finalist. The value is seemingly on the side of the young Japanese star, if Osaka can handle the occasion, there is no reason why she can’t seriously trouble the 6-time former champion.
I’m going to side with Osaka. Osaka was extremely impressive in her semi-final victory over Madison Keys. The critical component of Osaka’s win was how strong she was under pressure, saving all 13 break points she faced. Osaka served extremely well and played a smart, controlled game from the baseline. Osaka is continually improving in every aspect and is seemingly primed to preform on the biggest stage.
Osaka has the power to match Williams, whilst at this moment I think Osaka is the better counter-puncher and the better athlete, therefore Osaka has the slight edge in this match-up. Osaka controlled the middle of the court against Keys and will look to execute a similar game against Williams. The slow hard court in New York means there will a lot of medium-long rallies, this is where Osaka should have the edge so long as she plays smart, just as she did in her previous match and just as she did when she beat Williams earlier this year. I think this is Naomi’s moment to shine.