Williams was still returning to form after giving birth to her daughter last September.
Cut to five hours later and the scoreboard at Ashe read 6-2, 7-6 (5), with Serena's shock written all over it.
Last year, Naomi Osaka snatched our attention by doing the unthinkable and defeating then-reigning U.S. Open champion Angie Kerber. "So every day I step out on this court, I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to play this sport, you know?" Her wish was granted.
Serena Williams was a bit shaky at the start of her US Open semifinal.
"It was hard. You think she's going to let up but she didn't".
Known for her candid remarks to the media, she said in 2016 her ambitions were, "to be the very best, like no one ever was".
Already with major endorsements from Adidas, Yonex and watchmaker Citizen, as well as several Japanese brands, she already is seen as someone with global marketability. After being vaulted into stardom by winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March, Osaka went from being one of the WTA's next big things to having truly arrived.
Interviewer: What was going through your mind as you went to serve it out? Two years later, and still just as revered for her nerdy coolness, it seems as if she might be on her way. If she serves well, particularly on the first serve, that will put pressure on Osaka to avoid costly errors when the ball is on her racket.
"When she's in front it's tough to play", she said.
What time does the 2018 U.S. Open women's final start?
"I have nothing to lose", added Williams, who can join Australians Court, Evonne Goolagong and Belgian Kim Clijsters as the only mothers to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Keys was full of praise for her opponent after the match. Wimbledon, however, has not been kind to her.
She was born on October 16, 1997.
Williams has improved as the tournament has progressed but faces a stern challenge against the impressive Osaka, who like Williams has only lost one set during the fortnight in NY. "She stayed focused in the second set". That run allowed her to shoot up the rankings and she arrived at Flushing Meadows as the 20th seed.
"Well, with me, it's tough".
"In Cincinnati after I lost, I lost three matches in a row".
When asked if she had anything to say to Williams, Osaka gushed: "I love you" before bursting into nervous laughter, the Times reported.
Sevastova struggled to cope with the 36-year-old, who she felt improved as the match went on.
She is half Japanese and half Haitian-American so she doesn't look typically Japanese but her name is very traditional Japanese. Pliskova smashed a hole in a startled umpire's chair after losing to Maria Sakkari at the Italian Open earlier this year. The numbers promise a scintillating match up, if the magnitude of the occasion doesn't prove too much for the young Japanese. I think there was really two games where I didn't play ideal tennis, and that was why I lost. She helped the Czech Republic reach its sixth Fed Cup final in the past eight years with a 4-1 win over Germany. The few times she thought the press and the audience rallied behind her was when she felt most suffocated. And Serena will also have to build off the crowd in NY, which I expect to be buzzing and roaring with overwhelming support for the American on Saturday. "I know I will have more chances in life", she said.
France and Germany draw Nations League opener as Bale stars for Wales
Those four champions will then be given the four places available for Euro 2020 , a tournament that will consist of 24 teams. The only player who was not called up by Deschamps was keeper Hugo Lloris , who is dealing with an injury.