News Americas, FLUSHING, NY, Fri. Sept. 7, 2018: Serena Williams’ competitor in the U.S. Open women’s finals tomorrow in Flushing, NY is a Caribbean roots 20-year-old who was born in Japan.
Williams, 36, will face Japanese and Haitian professional tennis star, Naomi Osaka, at 4 p.m. tomorrow in the stadium named after the first black player to win the U.S. Open – Arthur Ashe.
The #17 seed Osaka will face the world’s number 1 in what promises to be an exciting match-up. So far, the 20-year-old South Florida-based player, born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father in Japan, has only love for Williams.
“I love you,” she said, when asked about her reaction to playing Williams.
Osaka beat Madison Keys in a U.S. Open semi-final match 6-2, 6-4 to advance to her first grand slam final ever.
So how is she feeling ahead of playing the tennis giant? “Pretty good,” she says while adding: “I just really want to play Serena.”
The rising tennis star was born in Osaka, Japan, to Tamaki Osaka and Leonard “San” François. Naomi and her older sister Mari were given their mother’s maiden name for practical reasons when the family lived in Japan.
Her father was born in Haiti and went to New York University before moving to Japan, where he met and married her mother.
Naomi and Mari, who is also a professional tennis player, have played together in doubles tennis. Naomi Osaka moved to the United States at the age of three with her family and currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She graduated from Elmont Alden Terrace Primary and Broward Virtual High School. Her tennis club was the Harold Solomon Institute (Florida Tennis SBT Academy), ProWorld Tennis Academy.
Osaka is an aggressive, offensive baseliner. She is able to hit winners off both sides. She likes to attack with her big forehand, but she can plant her feet and rip her backhand for winners as well. Her serve is consistent and very strong – up to 125 miles per hour (200 km/h) – and she can produce shots of varying spins and paces.