The insomniac-friendly Australian Open has entered the benign phase of its fortnight. After forcing viewers to stay up past midnight on Tuesday for Serena Williams’ quarterfinals victory over Simona Halep, the tournament has ditched the red-eye for Wednesday’s marquee showdown between Williams and Naomi Osaka.
The start time for the Williams-Osaka semifinal match is a far more agreeable 4 p.m. Pacific time. Williams, the tournament’s 10th seed, advanced to the semis with a decisive 6-3, 6-3 defeat of the second-seeded Halep. A victory over Osaka, who beat Hsieh Su-wei 6-2, 6-2 in her quarterfinals match, would position Williams for her record-tying 24th Grand Slam title.
Williams and Osaka have previously met four times, splitting the matchups. Their most notable meeting was in the 2018 U.S. Open final, which Osaka won in straight sets for the first of her three Grand Slam titles. The 23-year-old Osaka, who won the 2019 Australian Open, is 6-0 from the semifinals on in Grand Slam events.
Williams is seeking her eighth Australian Open title. She has been stuck on 23 Grand Slam event titles, one short of Margaret Court’s record, since winning the 2017 Australian Open.
The match can be watched on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. It can be streamed on the ESPN+ and ESPN apps.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.