Serena Williams hails Tiger Woods’ influence as she continues her US Open run after winning with a gameplan that included a two-week break from the courts.
Williams held off Naomi Osaka on Saturday to win for the second time in three months, beating Osaka 7-6 (1) 6-4 at Forest Hills with a game plan that combined court efficiency and ball control into a single, dominant tactic.
Williams made it look easy when she found her rhythm on the court, scoring 10 winners between the first and second set. Osaka, meanwhile, missed a few key points and her serve was often lacking with the serve and return in danger of breaking point.
With the match seeming to go Williams’ way from the start, Osaka struggled to find a rhythm on the court and, coupled with fatigue, Williams took control. She served to 30 on the second day, as she broke Osaka on her first match point and broke her again on a match point in the sixth game.
Williams, though, was not done there. She found her rhythm again, and, at 5-5, she broke Osaka’s serve three times. The champion saved two break points before converting both of them on her third match point. Williams then won back-to-back games to take the set and break Osaka’s serve once more, giving her a 4-1 lead on serve.
The next day, Williams broke Osaka again in the second set, then broke her again in the fourth set.
Although Osaka missed a few points in the final set, she missed out on a set point at 6-5 and ended up losing the set 6-4 in her final service game as Osaka served out the match.
As Williams wrapped up her US Open run, she said she is still a little surprised about her career.
“I’m not really shocked at winning this tournament, to be honest. Not really,” Williams said. “It was probably my plan from day one, and it worked out. I came into the tournament, and the first couple of days I was like ‘Oh, I made it, I made it.