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Osaka beats Williams in Australian Open semifinals

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka has stopped Serena Williams’ latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title in the Australian Open semifinals.

Osaka reached her fourth major final by beating Williams 6-3, 6-4 to stretch her winning streak to 20 matches.

Williams grabbed the first two games before Osaka took control with a five-game run.

Osaka broke Williams to begin the second set and was on her way.

Williams’ forehand was off the mark all match and she finished with totals of 24 unforced errors and just 12 winners.

Williams won her 23rd major championship at Melbourne Park in 2017 but remained one behind Margaret Court’s mark for the most in history.

Spectators are allowed back at Melbourne Park on Thursday (Wednesday night EST) after being banned for five days during a local COVID-19 lockdown.

The 39-year-old Williams already owns 23 major singles trophies, one away from Margaret Court’s record for the most in tennis history.

Williams’ most recent Grand Slam title came at the 2017 Australian Open, while she was pregnant. Since returning to competition after her daughter was born, Williams has reached four major finals and lost each.

One of those defeats came against Osaka at the 2018 U.S. Open. The 23-year-old Osaka also won last year’s U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open.

The other women’s semifinal is No. 22 Jennifer Brady of the United States against No. 25 Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic.

One men’s semifinal is on the schedule: No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. Aslan Karatsev, a qualifier from Russia who is ranked 114th and playing in his first Grand Slam tournament.

Djokovic is seeking a ninth Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall.

Rafael Nadal — who lost in the quarterfinals to Stefanos Tsitsipas — and Roger Federer are tied for the men’s record of 20.




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