Teenager Naomi Osaka credits Venus and Serena Williams as one of the reasons she plays tennis. The world No. 64 was born on October 16, 1997, one month after Venus Williams played in her first US Open final.
Before the Hong Kong second round on Wednesday, they had faced off only once with 37-year-old Williams winning their fourth-round encounter at Wimbledon. Osaka was understandably more starstruck then.
"I'm kind of honored, because I don't think I would have started playing if Venus and Serena weren't, like, there for me growing up," Osaka said at Wimbledon. "I mean, it's kind of weird to hear that she, like, maybe she even talked about me."
But now, Osaka has conquered one of her idols (though she's admitted she always loved Serena a little more). The Japanese sensation ousted the world No. 5 in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2.
It's a dream come true for the rising youngster.
Today I accomplished one of my dreams ❤️❤️❤️— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@Naomi_Osaka_) October 11, 2017
Though she's pulled off a big scalp before (she beat defending champion Angelique Kerber at the US Open), this is her first-ever Top 5 victory.