Australian Open Semifinal Predictions: Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka Australian Open

We’re up to the semifinal round of the Australian Open. The women’s semifinal from the bottom half of the draw is one of the biggest semifinal matchups we’ve seen at a Major in a long time. This blockbuster features the current best player in the world, Naomi Osaka, against the greatest player of all time, Serena Williams. Who will win? Our staff here at LWOT offers our thoughts. Predicting this match are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), Fraser Learmonth, Ryan Schick, Jim Smith, and Damian Kust.

We also have predictions for the other women’s semifinal between Karolina Muchova and Jennifer Brady.

Australian Open Semifinal Predictions

Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka

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Ever since “CoachingGate” cost Serena Williams a game on the way to a straight sets defeat at the hands of Naomi Osaka in the 2018 US Open final, tennis fans have kept an eye out for rematches between between the two. They have only met once since, however, with Wolliams avenging her loss with a straight sets win in Toronto in 2019.

I must admit I counted myself amongst the many who thought Williams’ best moving days were behind her. I am happy to concede that she has proved me wrong so far in this tournament. However, in Osaka she faces an opponent who has the ability to hit her off the court. The last opponent she faced of that nature was Sabalenka, and Williams did well to come through that match. Osaka is a level above Sabalenka and has the experience in Grand Slams to boot. Williams moved well against Halep but the Romanian rarely hits through anyone. The same won’t be true of Osaka in this match.

I think this is the best Williams has looked since she returned to the game, and in a kinder draw she may have grabbed Grand Slam #24 here. However, Osaka is on a different planet right now and looks so sure of herself and her tennis that I just can’t see Williams getting past her. This should be close if Williams shows up to play and is free from the pressure she has clearly felt in recent late round Major matches. However, Osaka has enough to get this done in my opinion.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

My rule is to never pick against Serena Williams. It’s a good rule. I’m tempted to break it, though, just because of how dominant Osaka can be. I’ll be clear about this match: it’s all on Osaka’s racket. If both players play their best, Osaka is just better right now. That being said, the Japanese couldn’t buy a first serve in her quarterfinal match. If that continues, Serena will win.
Prediction: Williams in 3

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Serena got her revenge for her defeat against Osaka in the 2018 US Open final the following year in Toronto, but this is their first Grand Slam meeting since then. Osaka looks unbeatable and has been, not losing a match in over a year. Serena proved she still has it with a straight-set win over Simona Halep where the world #2 never really had a chance. If Serena plays like she did yesterday, there is a very real chance of an upset. Osaka is still too powerful right now and assuming Serena isn’t perfect, will make yet another Slam final.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

This should be some match. Both have played some superb tennis so far at the Australian Open, not least in their quarterfinal wins. Which makes this a very hard match to call. But Serena Williams was perhaps slightly flattered by the scoreboard in her win over Simona Halep, with her struggles behind her second serve and her poor start to the second set a concern. A concern that is likely to become more pressing when confronted with the power and athleticism of Naomi Osaka.
Prediction: Osaka in 3

If Serena Williams is going to win that Slam #24, she’s really going to have to do it the hard way. Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep was an absolute nightmare of a draw, but she managed to step up to the challenge each time. The American played one of her best matches in years against Halep and is moving around the court as if it was 2015 all over again. Naomi Osaka has a lot to offer herself, though, and won’t allow Williams to push her into defense. They just recently faced each other at the A Day at the Drive exhibition in Adelaide where the American won a tightly-contested match. This could be a classic but I’ll take Serena’s determination to earn her another Major final.
Prediction: Williams in 3

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