Rivalries to Look Out for in 2021: Serena Williams vs Naomi Osaka

Published 01/09/2021, 10:00 AM EST
Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the Women’s Singles finals match alongside runner up Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Over recent years, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have dominated the headlines in the women’s game. Both these athletes are great forces, both on the tennis court and off it. They rank high amongst the marketable athletes, covering the various sports played across the globe. They share an age gap of 16 years, and Williams was Osaka’s idol and an inspirational figure. The two of them have displayed some of the highest quality of tennis.

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The first time they played was at the Miami Masters in 2018. The Japanese-born Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams in straight sets. That win must’ve surely given a huge boost to her confidence. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 10: Serena Williams of the United States celebrates winning her Ladies’ Singles Quarter-Finals match against Camila Giorgi of Italy on day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka Got the Better of Serena in 2018

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Later that year, they met again in the final of the US Open. This time, the stakes were higher in the quest for a Grand Slam title. Yet again, the Japanese got the better of the American, winning her first-ever Major. The circumstance during the match was much against Naomi Osaka as Serena Williams had lost her cool on the chair umpire, which indirectly prompted the crowd on her side. To overcome those obstacles, the Japanese showed real composure and character.

They played again at the Canadian Masters, this time the 23-time Grand Slam winner registered her first win over the 23-year-old. In recent years, fans have been really keen on seeing these two talents battle it out. Both are capable of showcasing their talents on the grand stages. With time, Naomi Osaka has only grown as a player and has won three Majors. 

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 07: Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand in her match against Maria Sakkari of Greece during day two of the 2020 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 07, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Stakes Get Higher for Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka in 2021

In their three encounters, Osaka leads Williams 2-1. There was not much tennis played in the previous year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, now that the new season has begun, one expects these two to extend their rivalry and excite fans with their sensational display of tennis. 

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DIVE DEEPER

“I Wouldn’t Be Here”: Naomi Osaka Credits Serena Williams for Inspiring Her to Play Tennis

10 months ago

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The pandemic forced people to stay indoors. Even players faced the same, and the pandemic put them in an unusual situation as compared to previous years. We hope that Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have been rejuvenated for the upcoming season. It’ll be a treat to see them face off at the Grand Slams. 

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Rohan Kollare

1117 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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