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Serena Williams faces Osaka at Open, eyes record-tying title

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Serena was pretty happy with herself. Image ESPNMore

The way Williams lost, of course, was what stood out most in the match.

Williams lost to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon, but has hit a higher level in NY, her latest outstanding display leading to a 6-3 6-0 victory over Sevastova. She brought Osaka to net and served with more consistency, keeping pace with the 20-year-old phenom.

"I don't cheat to win", she said. Tom, thank you for joining us. For me, because I've spent so much of my life on courts where no one really watches, I think I always like when people watch because it feels like all the hard work you put in is finally being shown.

Williams appeared close to tears in her on-court interview and reflected on the reasons for that in her news conference.

Osaka apologized to the crowd.

Williams continued to exchange words with Ramos and then called him a "thief" which resulted in another violation for verbal abuse and meant Osaka was awarded a game.

And as for how those dreams ended: "I don't dream to lose, so..." There was no thumbs-up sign. "I wasn't being coached". The one time Osaka did get broken, to trail 3-1 in the second set, she broke back immediately, prompting Williams to smash her racket. "And her words after the match deserve a big warm applause under the unexpected circumstances". It was the combination of the code violation for coaching and the racket abuse charge that surmounted to the loss of the point called by Ramos.

While serving at 3-3 Williams argued with the umpire who had ruled multiple times she was receiving coaching from her box. Osaka, the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam, was unflappable from the start, largely avoiding mistakes-she hit just 14 unforced errors-and taking advantage of Williams's missteps. "But the way she tries to speak in Japanese is so cute", said Yukie Ohashi, a 41-year-old Tokyo resident. "No matter what happens in any match - semis, final - I feel like I've already won".

But Osaka, who displayed not only a stellar game but remarkable poise throughout, held serve to seal a historic win for her country. "I love you (Serena)".

"I don't cheat to win". During a changeover, she called the chair umpire a "thief". Ramos interpreted the remark as verbal abuse, and awarded a game to Osaka, putting the eventual victor one game away from victory.

Williams's outburst overshadowed an outstanding performance from Osaka, who made her second career title a grand slam after winning her first at Indian Wells in March.

Williams came into the match carrying a 2-7 record when losing the first set in a Grand Slam final.

When questioned about how hard it was to play through the situation, both at the other end of the court and with an unhappy and vocal crowd, Osaka was clearly upset.

"There are matters that need to be looked into that took place during the match", the WTA said in a statement. Serena was crying and telling officials that they wouldn't have penalized her if she were a man. Like, (Alizé) Cornet should be able to take her shirt off without getting a fine.

After a confident hold punctuated by a 106 miles per hour ace Osaka broke again to lead 4-1, silencing the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.

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