It was not the way the 20 year old Japanese player would have wanted her first ever Grand Slam win to be remembered but Naomi Osaka will certainly be delighted with her performance at winning the US Open Women’s title last night at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Naomi Osaka became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion after she thumped Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 in a controversial U.S. Open final on Saturday, with the American suffering a mesmerizing meltdown after being handed a code violation. It was drama-filled conclusion to a final that was rich with storylines but will now go down as one of the most controversial Grand Slam finals of all time. An angry Serena Williams accused the umpire of being a “thief” in some of the most dramatic scenes at a Grand Slam final. Williams was given a game penalty for her outburst, which followed racquet smashing and another code violation.
Osaka, though, kept her focus to become the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam. Williams refused to shake hands with umpire Carlos Ramos after the match.
Williams was given a first code violation after Ramos judged a gesture from coach Patrick Mouratoglou to be coaching – which is allowed on the WTA Tour but not during Grand Slams. Williams said she had not received any tactics from Mouratoglou, telling the umpire she would “never cheat to win and would rather lose”. The Frenchman later admitted to ESPN that he had been coaching from the box. “I was coaching but I don’t think she looked at me,” Mouratoglou said. “Sash [Osaka’s coach Sascha Bajin] was coaching as well. Everybody does it.”
Williams then received another for a racquet smash at 3-2 in the second set, leading to Ramos docking her a point as Osaka started at 15-0 in the following game. The American was furious, walking up to Ramos, shouting and pointing at him as the crowd started booing in support of the former world number one. The drama continued as the atmosphere in Arthur Ashe Stadium became more toxic. Williams refused to let the issue slide and launched an extraordinary rant at Ramos at the changeover, with Osaka leading 4-3. “You are a liar. You will never be on a court of mine as long as you live. When are you going to give me my apology? Say you are sorry,” she told the Portuguese. That led to Ramos docking her the next game – leaving Osaka just one more away from victory at 5-3 up.
Boos continued to rain down, generating incredible noise, as Williams refused to take to the court and demanded an intervention from the tournament referee. Eventually she returned to the baseline, serving out a game to love before Osaka showed remarkable focus to hold the final game that sealed her first Grand Slam win. Williams later accused the umpire of sexism, saying: “He’s never taken a game from a man because they said ‘thief’.”
The American, 36, graciously congratulated Osaka at the net after the 20th seed completed an extraordinary victory and, although Williams’ behaviour will grab the attention, nothing should detract from a classy and composed display from Osaka at Flushing Meadows.
Courtesy: BBC Sport