Naomi Osaka ended Serena Williams’ bid for a record-equalling 24th grand slam title with a straight-sets victory in the semi-final of the Australian Open.
The Japanese third seed, champion in Melbourne two years ago, overcame a nervous start to wrap up a hugely impressive 6-3 6-4 win.
It was another setback for 39-year-old Williams as she once again came up short in her 10th attempt to move level with Margaret Court’s haul of major titles.
Since winning while pregnant in Australia four years ago, Williams has lost four Slam finals, including one to Osaka in a controversial and heated 2018 US Open decider which left both women in tears.
Osaka is on a 20-match unbeaten streak and has never lost a Slam final.
The Japanese will face Jennifer Brady in Saturday’s final after the American beat Karolina Muchova.
Brady came past the Czech 6-4 3-6 6-4 to seal a spot in her first Grand Slam final.
It will be a rematch of the 2020 US Open semi-final, which Osaka came through in three sets.