Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam title after she registered an emphatic 6-2, 6-4 win over Serena Williams in the finals of the U.S Open.
Osaka got off to an aggressive start in the first set, breaking the six-time U.S Open champion twice. She used her tremendous movement and brutal baseline hitting to close the set in just 33 minutes.
An extraordinary series of events then began to unfold during the second set when Williams was awarded a code violation because her coach was allegedly coaching her from the stands. An enraged Williams smashed her racquet on the court, which resulted in a subsequent violation, during with Osaka was handed a point.
“I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose,” she was heard telling the chair umpire.
Williams then got into an intense argument with the chair umpire following which she was given a game penalty. Williams held back tears but still managed to hold serve.
The penalty gave Osaka — who stayed calm, cool and collected in the face of all the drama — a crucial lead in the second set and she served out the match a game later.
A cascade of boos rained down on the trophy presentation ceremony that followed.
After receiving her runner-up trophy, Williams said, “I just want to tell you guys, she played well and this is her first Grand Slam. But I know you guys are here rooting and I was rooting, too. And let’s make this the best moment we can.
“Let’s not boo any more. We’re going to get through this and let’s be positive. Congratulations, Naomi. No more booing. It’s been a tough year for me but thank so you so much.”
Williams was bidding to win her 24th Grand Slam title, equalling Margaret Court’s record. She was also playing to win her first Major, after giving birth to her daughter last year.