Thursday, 18 February 2021 07:16

Staff Reporter,

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

Naomi Osaka claimed an impressive victory over Serena Williams to reach the Australian Open final and end the American's latest quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

Three-time Slam champion Osaka withstood early pressure from Williams to win 6-3 6-4.

Osaka is on a 20-match unbeaten streak and has never lost a Slam final.

"I was really nervous and scared in the beginning and then I sort of eased my way into it," Osaka said.

"It's just always an honour to play her and I just didn't want to go out really dud. I just wanted to try my best."

She will face either American Jennifer Brady or Czech Karolina Muchova on Saturday for another Slam title after her success at Flushing Meadows in 2018 and last year, and Melbourne in 2019.

It is the first time Williams has lost a semi-final at the Australian Open, a run which stretched back 18 years.

It is also her first defeat in 14 matches against a top-five player at a Grand Slam.

Williams will be left to rue the opportunities she let slip and once again wonder whether she will equal Margaret Court's major record.