Two of the most in-form players since the WTA tour resumed, they have lost one match between them.

Brady was on fire on her return to action in Lexington, winning the Top Seed Open without dropping a set and she has continued that remarkable form in New York by reaching a first-Grand Slam semi-final, again without losing a set.

Osaka returned at the Cincinnati Open where she remained unbeaten before being forced to withdraw from the final against Azarenka due to a hamstring injury.

It hasn’t disturbed her performances so far at Flushing Meadows and she has reached a third Grand Slam semi-final.

Naomi Osaka route to US Open semi-finals

R1: 6-2 5-7 6-2 Misaki Doi
R2: 6-1 6-2 Camila Giorgi
R3: 6-3 6-7 6-2 Martha Kostyuk
R4: 6-3 6-4 Anna Kontaveit
QF: 6-3 6-4 Shelby Rogers

Jennifer Brady route to US Open semi-finals

R1: 6-3 6-2 Anna Blinkova
R2: 6-1 6-2 Catherine Bellis
R3: 6-3 6-3 Caroline Garcia
R4: 6-1 6-4 Angelique Kerber
QF: 6-3 6-2 Yulia Putintseva

On the two previous occasions Osaka has reached the semi-finals of a major tournament she has gone to win the title including one here in 2018.

For Brady, this is a new territory but the lack of fans inside the stadium could ensure that conditions for a first-time semi-finalist are not too daunting.

Both are aware of the other’s talents. Brady noted her ‘very powerful, big serve, big shots off the baseline, one-two punch’, while Osaka admitted she was ‘a bit jealous’ of Brady’s variety.

It promises to be a fiercely competitive, and incredibly watchable clash.

Prediction: Osaka to win in three sets


Only Venus Williams has faced Serena on more occasions than Azarenka but it’s been a while since this rivalry really took centre stage at major tournaments.

This is Azarenka first Grand Slam Semifinals in seven years at the US Open since 2013 where she was defeated by Serena in the final.

Both have left the WTA tour to give birth and while Serena has been in four major finals since, it’s taken Azarenka longer to rediscover the form that made her world No. 1.

Serena Williams route to US Open semi-finals

R1: 7-5 6-3 Kristie Ahn
R2: 6-2 6-4 Margarita Gasparyan
R3: 2-6 6-2 6-2 Sloane Stephens
R4: 6-3 6-7 6-3 María Sakkari
QF: 4-6 6-3 6-2 Tsvetana Pironkova

Victoria Azarenka route to US Open semi-finals

R1: 6-1 6-2 Barbara Haas
R2: 6-1 6-3 Aryna Sabalenka
R3: 6-4 6-2 Iga Swiatek
R4: 5-7 6-1 6-4 Karolina Muchova
QF: 6-1 6-0 Elise Mertens

Indeed, three weeks ago she was easily beaten by Williams’ older sister Venus 6-3 6-2. Few saw her Western & Southern title win a week later coming after that limp display.

Now, on a 10-match win streak, she will be aiming for a first ever Grand Slam win over Williams – having lost the first 10 attempts.

Serena’s overall goal is well documented. She is two wins away from equalling Margaret Court’s all-time majors record.

She will have to go through two high-quality opponents to achieve that aim. There’s nowhere to hide.

Prediction: Azarenka to win in three sets.