"I know I'm in a position that I can possibly do that but I want to really think that I'm grateful to be in the position that I am in the first place and I just want to take one point at a time". "I just usually only come in only to shake hands".
Safe to say, those losses feel like a lifetime ago.
She took each of the six games in the second set, thwarting every attempt by Sevastova to gain any momentum.
Williams collected $3.6 million, including a $1 million bonus for producing the best results during the North American hardcourt "US Open Series" tournaments and became the first woman to top $50 million in career earnings.
But Williams will represent the stiffest test yet for Osaka after also cruising mostly unchallenged into the final, her only real blip coming in the fourth round when she needed three sets to get by Estonian Kaia Kanepi. It will be a really good match. "I'm going to go out there and do what I can".
She's not alone in her complimentary words.
There is more Black Girl Magic that happened at the US Open: Sloane Stephens won the tournament past year, but the defending champion's run ended Tuesday in the quarterfinals with a defeat. If not the present. She's playing finals here.
Williams' determination to win is unquestionable but Osaka offered an insight into her drive when asked how her dream meetings with her idol on the Grand Slam stage finished. She then dealt with complications related to blood clots. Her bare-bones technique - just toss the ball and hit it - is also what makes it so hard to read.
Osaka's family relocated to the United States when she was three years old, eventually settling in Long Island, New York and later in Florida.
After winning her first Masters title at Indian Wells earlier this year, she made what she described as "the worst acceptance speech of all time" - nervously saying her "thank yous" before awkwardly lifting the trophy and posing for photographs.
Osaka then collected herself and her fandom and let a reporter know that she does love Williams but that in her dreams, she wins.
Whatever happens in the final, Osaka said she will remain a fan of the American who is chasing a record-equalling 24th major, just a year after giving birth and undergoing four post-natal surgeries. Not as cool as Naomi Osaka, but cool.
"The combination of her strength and childlike innocence is her charm", said the conservative-leaning Yomiuri, another major daily.
Sevastova was no match for Williams. "She makes so much pressure on the first, second ball, it's tough for me", Sevastova said.