Osaka, who was born in Osaka, Japan, to a Haitian father and Japanese-born mother currently living in Florida, admitted that she was “extremely nervous” before she stepped onto the court.
“I don’t know if anybody knows this, but Serena’s my favorite player. Just playing against her is kind of like a dream for me, so I’m very grateful that I was able to play her and it’s even better that I was able to win,” she continued during her post-match interview with WTA Insider.
“I don’t know if you guys know this, but Serena’s my favorite player.” #MiamiOpen
Her win against Williams came after coming on top at the Indian Wells 2018 Women’s Singles, where she won the title against Daria Kasatkina with a score of 6-3 and 6-2.
As for Williams, she took the lost quite admirably and sees the experience as an opportunity to better her performance.
“Every tournament is an opportunity for me to better understand the areas I need to improve to be my best,” she said in a statement released by WTA following the match. “Naomi played a great match and I learn something each time I play. I look forward to continuing my return by progressing every day. I’m so grateful for my fans who continue to support me every step of this incredible journey.”
In addition to Williams, Osaka has already beaten four current or former WTA number 1 ranked players, including Maria Sharapova earlier this month at the BNP Paribas Open in California, with a score of 6-4 and 6-4.