Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title after beating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in a controversial US Open final on Sunday.
Osaka put up quite an unbelievable show in the first set as she raced to a 6-2 win. And then one of the most dramatic player-umpire confrontations you will ever see ensued in the second set. It all started when Williams was given a first code violation after umpire, Carlos Ramos judged a gesture from Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou to be coaching, which is not allowed during Grand Slams.
Williams became furious, saying she never received coaching and would never cheat. She, however, channelled her anger effectively to take a 3-1 lead, but then dropped serve on her service game and smashed her racket in disgust.
That prompted a second code violation, and a point penalty. Osaka serving at 15-0 took the game and broke Serena in the next to take a 4-3 lead. This time, Williams became utterly furious. Still angry at the two code violations, she went over to the umpire and launched a tirade.
“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 Carlos Ramos. She called him a “thief” for taking a point from her, and that prompted him to give her a game penalty. That sent Osaka 5-3 up, and the crowd, wild!
The 23,000-strong crowd booed vociferously, leading to the tournament referee and WTA supervisor being called to the court, where they spoke to Williams, who was already in tears.
The penalty stood, and somehow Williams managed to hold serve to force Osaka to serve for the title. Osaka remained composed and served it out with incredible aplomb to claim the biggest title of her career.
During the award ceremony, boos reverberated the entire stadium, leaving Osaka in tears. Williams, however, brought some positivity into what was a disappointing show for the Japanese.
“I don’t want to be rude. She played well. Let’s make this the best moment we can, let’s not boo any more,” said Williams.
Then, Osaka, fighting back tears said: “I know that everyone was cheering for her [Williams], and I’m sorry it had to end like this. I just want to say thanks for watching the match.
“It was also my dream to play Serena in the US Open final, and I’m really glad I was able to do that. I’m grateful I was able to play with you. Thank you.”
What a match!