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Serena Williams Defeats Naomi Osaka Nearly a Year After Controversial U.S. Open Match

Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams during the U.S. Open final in September 2018

Serena Williams defeated Naomi Osaka in a Rogers Cup quarterfinal match on Friday, almost a year after their controversial match at the U.S. Open in September 2018.

The match marked the first time the two had played against each other since Williams’ defeat in the U.S. Open final, according to the New York Times. Williams, 37, beat Osaka 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals of the Rogers Cup.

“I knew her game a little bit more, so that’s a little easier,” Williams said after the match, according to the Times. “And, you know, I’m just overall a little bit better.”

“I knew her game a little bit more, so that’s a little easier,” Williams said after the match, according to the Times. “And, you know, I’m just overall a little bit better.”

Meanwhile, Osaka, 21, explained that Williams “is someone that I looked up to forever.”

“So in a weird way, losing today I accomplished my dream,” she said, according to
CNN. “I know that sounds kind of weird, but, you know, if there’s anyone in the world that I would want to lose to — of course, I would never want to lose — but I don’t mind losing to her because I learned a lot.”

The U.S. Open championship match in September 2018 between Williams and Osaka was marred by a verbal altercation between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who gave the 23-time Grand Slam champion three separate on-court violations. Williams was penalized for illegal coaching, breaking her racket and verbal abuse, and later suggested that the umpire’s actions were motivated by sexism.

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Serena Williams

WARREN TODA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In July, Williams opened up about the controversial match in a first-person essay in Harper’s Bazaarrevealing that she had sent Osaka an apology letter after the match.

“In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title,” Williams said. “I thought back to my first Grand Slam. It’s the one you remember best; it’s supposed to be the most special. This debacle ruined something that should have been amazing and historic.”

In her letter, Williams told Osaka, “I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry.”

RELATED: Serena Williams Sent Apology Letter to Naomi Osaka After U.S. Open: I ‘Couldn’t Find Peace’

“I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself,” the athlete said she wrote in the letter. “But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future.”

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Naomi Osaka

WARREN TODA/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Williams said that “tears rolled down” her face when she received Osaka’s response to her letter.

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