It’s Serena Williams vs. Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open Final

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For a brief moment, Serena Williams almost cracked. It did not happen during her semifinal match on Thursday against Anastasija Sevastova. There was little chance of that.

It came after her dominating 6-3, 6-0 victory, in an on-court interview, when the magnitude of her yearlong journey — from the of joy of giving birth to the fear of life-threatening postnatal complications and ultimately to the demanding path back to tennis success — crystallized in her mind.

She fought back the tears, but there was no hiding her sentiments after she had reached her first Open final in four years.

“I got a little emotional out there because last year I was literally fighting for my life in the hospital,” she said. “I think I was on my fourth surgery by now. What is today? I was on my third surgery. I had one more to go still.

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