Naomi Osaka told US Open title opponent Serena Williams "I love you" just moments after she became the first Japanese womam to reach a Grand Slam final. Of course that's far easier said than done-this is the U.S. Open final against Serena Williams, so it's about as far from any other match as one can get.
The roof was closed hours earlier because of a forecast calling for rain and strong wind, and so the screams and applause reverberated through the place whenever spectators roared for Williams, during the pre-match introductions, when she stepped to the baseline to serve in the opening game, and then after almost every point she won.
Despite her shy on-court demeanour, Osaka is quickly becoming one of the best players on tour and victory over Williams will see her jump into the top 10 for the first time.
Williams seized her fourth US Open crown after Azarenka served for the match and led 5-3 in the third set. "When Serena is Serena, she's unstoppable". So, how did the match end in her dream? If she is connected with the champion she is and able to play her game, there is nobody that can match her level.
Williams lost out in the semi-finals of her last two US Opens, in 2015 and 2016. And Serena long ago ditched the beads and is now on the cusp of tying Margaret Court for first all-time with 24 major singles titles. But she was getting better.
"But she has 23 Grand Slams". "Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in a final of a Grand Slam". I'm only a few months in and really looking forward to the rest of the year and next year. "I usually play players that hit really, really hard, so I really had to feel her out early on, then try to make the best of it".
Naomi Osaka stands in way of her idol Serena Williams
Osaka also has a strong attachment to Japanese culture, describing her visits to the country as like a "super-awesome extended vacation that I don't want to leave", according to media reports.
Barty has reached the final of each of the four grand slams during her career, although is yet to claim a title. Sevastova ousted defending champion Sloane Stephens in the quarterfinals and has never faced Williams.
In case you hadn't noticed, Serena Williams is arguably the baddest athlete to ever walk this Earth.
A win Saturday would be Williams' first Grand Slam title as a mother.
But after Williams stormed back to even things at 2-2, 40-40, Sevastova deployed her favourite tool, her drop shot, and it failed her, skidding down the side of the net and landing on her side of the court.