Playing her first major final, Naomi Osaka accompanied powerful game with impressive composure to beat Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 for the US Open title and became the first Japanese player to become a Grand Slam singles champion.
The 20th-seeded Osaka, 16 years younger than her opponent, ran away with the first set by breaking Williams in the third and fifth game, while in the second set Williams broke back to decrease Osaka’s lead from 3-1 to 3-2, but Osaka earned another break on her very next opportunity and confidently marched to the career-defining triumph.
The match featured a lot of drama and Williams’ tantrums, because chair umpire Carlos Ramos accused the 23-time Grand Slam champion of coaching violation, as Patrick Mouratoglou was supposedly giving Williams secret signals from the player’s box. Evidently dying to win the title, Serena argued with the umpire on several occasions, accused him of lying and said “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.” However, Mouratoglou’s gestures did look like coaching and he even admitted it later on: “If I’m honest I was coaching, [but] I don’t think she looked at me.”
The messy situation threatened to disrupt Osaka’s flow, but the 20-year-old stayed focused and never let the controversy ruin her concentration, eventually winning her maiden Grand Slam in an emphatic fashion.
Osaka’s route to the trophy included wins over Germany’s Laura Siegemund in the first round, Israel’s Julia Glushko in the second, Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the third, Belarusian seed No.26 Aryna Sabalenka in the fourth, Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko in the quarterfinals, last year’s runner-up and 14th seed Madison Keys in the semis, and finally tennis legend Serena Williams.
Improving her head-to-head record against Serena to 2-0, Osaka earned $3.8 million in prize money, while in her entire career until this US Open her earnings amounted $3.2 million.