On Thursday (September 7), Gauff, 19, defeated Karolina Muchova 6-4, 7-5 in the U.S. Open semifinals at Arthur Ashe Stadium, earning a spot in the final for the first time in her career.
The victory came after Gauff, then 15, lost to Osaka just four years ago at the 2019 U.S. Open. Gauff teared up after the defeat but was comforted by Osaka in an emotional moment that went viral. The two exchanged words on the court before teaming up for a joint, post-match interview at Osaka's insistence.
“When I shook her hand, I saw that she was kind of tearing up a little," Osaka said at the time. "Then it reminded me how young she was. … I was just thinking it would be nice for her to address the people that came and watched her play. They were cheering for her.”
On Thursday, Gauff recalled the moment and gave Osaka a sweet shoutout as the new mom sat in the front row for the match as a fan.
"Naomi, I remember the moment we had on this court ... it meant a lot to me," Gauff said. "I’m so excited to have you back on tour and hopefully, I get to meet your daughter. Thank you so much for coming and hi to your mom as well."
The 19-year-old is the first American teenager to earn a spot in the U.S. Open final since Serena Williams in 2021.