Serena Williams is set to face Naomi Osaka in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup, the first time the duo have met since the controversial 2018 US Open final.
Osaka won her maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows in September 2018, with a 6-2 6-4 triumph over the legendary American. However, the scoreline does not tell the whole story, as Williams became embroiled in a heated argument with the umpire over whether she was receiving ‘coaching’ in the stands by Patrick Mouratoglou.
It resulted in a game penalty being issued by the official, with Osaka going on to claim a comfortable victory, but one that she termed “a little bit bittersweet”, with the Japanese star visibly upset during an awkward presentation ceremony. The duo will oppose each other in Toronto on Friday, with Williams relishing the showdown.
“I’ve actually been looking forward to playing her,” she said. “She has had a great year early in the season and she’s still doing pretty good.” The US veteran beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5 6-4 to reach the last eight, while Osaka won 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 against Iga Swiatek.
The Far East star does not seem fazed by the prospect of a clash with Williams and hopes it brings the best out of her. “Whenever I get the opportunity to play her, it’s something that I feel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she admitted.
“It feels more like I am showcasing my skills to her like ‘look what I can do.’ So I will go into the match with that mentality.” Williams is priced at 1.91 to reach the semi-finals, with Osaka on offer at 1.85.