US Open: Serena to get payback on Osaka in women's final
Odds: Serena Williams 7-17, Naomi Osaka 12-5
The USTA could not have dreamt of a more exciting women's finals to have for the 2018 US Open than the one they have been given, as greatest ever Serena Williams will take on a talented upstart she inspired in Naomi Osaka on Saturday.
It is as riveting a US Open final as there has been in years, with the younger Williams sister playing in her first championship match at Flushing Meadows since winning it in 2014. After two straight years of gut-wrenching semifinal defeats in 2015 and 2016, Williams was unable to play last year's Open due to the birth of her first child Olympia. She has returned to the Queens borough of New York on her legendary top form, as she has only dropped one set this entire tournament.
But while Serena has placed herself back into great shape to win a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title (Margaret Court sits alone still with that number), she will oppose a player who is on her own wonderful run in the Haitian-Japanese Osaka. The 20-year-old Florida-raised native has only lost one set herself across the fortnight.
Making this matchup so intriguing are the facts that both Serena and Venus Williams are idols for Osaka, and that Osaka actually beat Serena earlier this year at the Miami Open, in arguably the toughest first round in all the Women's Tennis Association this year. Serena was far from her best that afternoon though, as it was only her fourth match coming back to tennis from her pregnancy. But Osaka did carry over her title winning level at Indian Wells the week before to be a deserved winner in that match.
With that in her mind, Serena will be fully prepared for this one physically and emotionally in almost a total 180-degree contrast for her from their Miami meeting. How Williams serves will be key factor again in this one, as it will either give her comfort to deal with Osaka's almost equally terrific serve or tighten up on her return and give Osaka her own solace to serve big and accurately.
Still, Osaka isn't at the apex level on serve that Williams is when the 36-year-old is in her top ace-delivering mode. Serena won't be giving her opponent 13 break point opportunities when she is serving on peak form, something that Osaka did in her semifinal win vs Madison Keys.
Thankfully for Osaka, she played all 13 break points spectacularly well (along with Keys being geneous on a few) in never being broken in the match. She will not be that fortunate if she provides even a handful of chances to break to Serena.
Prediction: Serena in a classic match
With this being a totally different Serena than the one she faced in Miami, Osaka will not have the same winning result that she garnered against her idol earlier this year.
It will be a fantastic display though, and I feel that Serena Williams in 3 sets is the way to go when you wager in on this enthralling match.