When Naomi met Serena: tantrums and tears

·3-min read

Tennis superstars Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams will play each other for just the fourth time on Thursday with a place in the Australian Open final at stake.

Here, AFP Sport recalls their three previous meetings, including a US Open final remembered for all the wrong reasons:

- Miami Open 2018: Rd 1

Osaka won 6-3, 6-2

A 20-year-old Osaka, fresh from her breakthrough title win at Indian Wells, was superior throughout in the pair's first meeting and took just one hour and 17 minutes to end Williams's fourth match after maternity leave.

The American clearly lacked movement in just her second tournament after 13 months out as she slumped to her first defeat in an opening match at an American hardcourt championship for 21 years.

Williams was fined for skipping her post-match media duties and instead issued a brief statement that read: "Every tournament is an opportunity for me to better understand the areas I need to improve to be my best.

"Naomi played a great match and I look forward to continuing my return by progressing every day."

- US Open 2018: Final -

Osaka won 6-2, 6-4

Osaka became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title but was left in tears after an infamous Williams implosion.

The astonishing second-set tantrum was sparked by umpire Carlos Ramos warning Williams for receiving coaching from her player's box.

A second code violation for racquet abuse, along with a point penalty, then caused Williams to erupt.

She tearfully accused him of being a "thief" and demanded an apology.

"You're attacking my character," she fumed. "You will never, ever be on another court of mine. You are the liar," she ranted before Ramos handed her a game penalty for a third code breach -- verbal abuse.

That put Osaka one game from victory and the 20-year-old displayed remarkable poise to serve out for a historic win despite the furore.

The pro-Williams New York crowd booed the trophy ceremony announcer, leaving Osaka in tears and trying to hide her face. She was consoled by a subdued Williams.

"It doesn't really feel that real right now. Maybe in a few days I'll realise what I've done," said Osaka, who had the gloss taken off her first taste of Grand Slam glory.

Williams was later fined $17,000 by tournament organisers for her behaviour.

- Toronto 2019: QF -

Williams won 6-3, 6-4

Williams achieved her maiden win against Osaka at the third time of asking to reach the Rogers Cup semi-final in the the pair's first meeting since the Flushing Meadows meltdown.

Williams this time was on her best behaviour in a solid performance with pin-point serving helping her to a straight-sets victory against a lacklustre Osaka.

"I knew her game a little bit more, so that's a little easier. I'm just overall a little bit better," Williams said.