"This is going to sound really bad, but I was just thinking I really want to play Serena", Osaka said in an on-court interview.
Instead, the Japanese No. 1 will need to pick her spots wisely.
While the big names that fill the stands - Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki - have slowly aged, the people who run and market women's tennis have patiently waited for the arrival of a fresh young face with a compelling story, big serve and punishing groundstrokes. The numbers promise a scintillating match up, if the magnitude of the occasion doesn't prove too much for the young Japanese. That's how long it took her to drop the opening two games.
Osaka added that despite her admiration for Williams, she would have to think of the showdown as any other match.
If Williams is victorious, she will have equalled Margaret Court's insane record of 24 grand slam titles. She needs to come out firing and on the front foot, because Osaka needs badly to get off to a good start to build belief that she can pull off the upset.
"Having a child and having all the duties of a mother and trying to come back and trying to play at the elite level and she's doing it".
Second, the history: Williams, who will turn 37 later this month, returns to her first U.S. Open final since 2014.
But Williams will represent the stiffest test yet for Osaka after also cruising mostly unchallenged into the final, her only real blip coming in the fourth round when she needed three sets to get by Estonian Kaia Kanepi.
Naomi Osaka stands in way of her idol Serena Williams
Osaka was instead going through the best time in her career as she had just won her maiden WTA title in Indian Wells.
She is beyond eager to play Serena Williams today.
Williams was out of the game for over a year after announcing her pregnancy in April 2017 and then giving birth last September.
It has been two years since her big moment, but Pliskova is still searching for her first Grand Slam title.
Tennis fans will recall Williams wore the tutu after the French Open banned her from wearing her black catsuit at future tournaments.
Potentially standing in the way of Barty's maiden grand slam title is fellow Queenslander and two-time women's grand slam doubles champion, Sam Stosur.
Serena will be bidding to complete a remarkable comeback in front of her home crowd.
But even if it's not Saturday, she believes it will happen. She has all the raw tools necessary to win this match, and she's been the best player in the tournament thus far.
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