When asked earlier if she planned to speak with Kasatkina during the flight, Osaka told the press: "I don't know how to start conversations. ... I don't know what you're supposed to say to someone you haven't really talked to before. I just think it would be cool to talk to her."
Kasatkina, who ended up on the short end of the 6-3, 6-2 scoreline, had a less lofty concern, quipping: "I hope we will get to Miami without any fights during the flight."
The brace of 20-year-olds would be wise to save their combative urges for the back end of the Sunshine Double, which starts in Miami this week. The old guard in the WTA is certain to be little miffed after the youngsters wrecked the pecking order. Kasatkina was speaking for Osaka -- as well as Jelena Ostapenko -- when she declared, after her semifinal win over Venus Williams on Saturday at Indian Wells, "We are coming ... very soon."
Like, today soon?
Osaka and Kastakina have plenty of momentum, as well as the physical reserves of youth, to draw on despite their whirlwind 10 days in the California desert. Their parallel efforts drove the needle deep into the red on the WTA Threat-o-Meter. While both players have been on the radar of talent scouts for some time now, it's rare to see two youngsters break out at the same event -- and meet in the final.
It wasn't just that Osaka, who was unseeded, and Kasatkina, a lowly No. 28 roared out of nowhere to make the final; it was how they did it. They knocked off a combined total of five Grand Slam champions (Kasatkina accounted for four of them); only three of their combined 11 opponents have yet to play a Grand Slam final.
Osaka's maturity in this final was a revelation, given her tendency to lose concentration and control of her big game. "I wasn't really trying to hit hard today," Osaka told reporters. "I felt it would be better for her to take my pace. So i just wanted her to do whatever she wanted to do, and I was just going to sit back and see what she does. I wasn't that aggressive today, I was just more consistent."
It was like watching a callow teenager grow up overnight.
But there will be a familiar cast of champions awaiting these two in Miami. The group will be headed by the Williams sisters, who have known spectacular success on Key Biscayne. The Crandon Park Tennis Center is the closest thing the sisters have to a home court, given its proximity to their family compound in Palm Beach Gardens. Between them, the sisters have won the Miami Open 11 times (Serena bagged eight of those titles).
Venus and Serena no longer have anything to prove to anyone. Nevertheless, they have ambitions and their real-time reputations are on the line. Serena is trying to jump-start another comeback and Venus could sorely use a big win: she's playing inspired tennis at age 37 and, in recent months, climbed to her highest ranking (No.5) since 2010. But she hasn't actually won a title in over two years. The hard courts of Miami offer the best opportunity to break the hex.
Roger Federer, that other ageless wonder, won't be under comparable duress at Miami. The Indian Wells final loss on Sunday to Juan Martin del Potro was his first in 108 days, and ended his 17-match winning streak -- the best start of his career. It was an epic men's final, a rough and gritty two-hour-and-40-minute slugfest in which Federer let slip three match points.
"It should sting for a bit," Federer, 36, said. "The question is, how long? Obviously there is not too much time to dwell over it."
If anything, the loss might whet Federer's appetite for retribution in Miami. But there will be a different vibe there. The Miami Open has a heavy Central and South American fan base, in direct contrast to the Rogerphiles who flocked to Indian Wells. There will be much Delpo-love on Biscayne Bay.
It's been a long road back from injury for del Potro, and nobody appreciates his journey more than Federer. The Swiss said:
"He put himself out there, with no double-hander [backhand] almost," Federer said. "Just happy to slice and still take losses. He knew it was going to be enough against some players, but he was happy enough playing this way, which I admire a lot."
The 6-foot-6 Argentine has beaten Federer just seven times in 25 tries, but he's now 4-2 against Federer in finals.
Del Potro won back his place among the ATP elites this weekend, and in a nick of time. His record on the year has risen to a Federer-esque 17-3, which makes him the ATP's de facto No. 2 no matter what the rankings say.
"I am still shaking," Del Potro told ESPN's Brad Gilbert on court immediately after he won the final. "I was so nervous."
It's the rest of the ATP that ought to be nervous now.