Naomi Osaka Wins Over Serena Williams At The 2018 US Open Final
The toast of New York for the next 24 hours is Naomi Osaka, 17th ranked tennis player in the world when she entered this tournament, who hails from Japan and has just been crowned US Open champion—the very first time a Japanese, male or female, has won a Tennis Grand Slam tournament. With a father who comes from Haiti, and a Japanese mother, this 20-year-old will now be ranked 7th in the world after the historic win.
Unfortunately, her victory will be marred by the heated arguments that transpired in the second set between runner-up Serena Williams and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos. From being accused of receiving coaching, to smashing her racket, then being docked a full game for continuing to rant at the umpire; it was a series of bizarre turn of events that had the crowd reeling, and feeling Serena was getting the raw end of the deal.
And it is a shame as the string of incidents could well overshadow how superbly Osaka had dismantled the power game of Williams by answering Serena’s blistering forehand with equal, if not increased, power and angles. When Serena did break Naomi in the second set, Naomi came right back to nullify the break; so coupled with the racket abuse, you have to think Serena was already in a highly brittle and fragile state of mind.
“Nothing is more beautiful than a smile that has struggled through tears.” We thank our 2018 women’s champion for her strength and sincerity on and off the court. #USOpen __ ?? @iamcesarin #womenwhoinspire #naomiosaka #Tennis #wta #usopen50 #grandslam #champion #emotional
During the awarding ceremony, Serena, thankfully, had regained her composure and admonished the crowd for booing the announcement of Naomi as Champion, acknowledging how well Naomi had played. As for Naomi, there were so many mixed emotions displayed on her face; for a moment, it looked like she was feeling terrible about winning. Before the match, Naomi had said Serena was her idol, and how thrilled she was to be competing in a Final with her idol on the other side of the net.
Subsequent coverage announced that Serena’s coach admitted to the hand signals, but he said Serena wasn’t even looking at him, and that all the coaches do it in both the Men’s and Women’s draws. And in a post match interview, Serena brought in sexism, claiming that Men say far worse things when arguing with the umpire and yet, don’t get any warning or penalty. So you can imagine how the issue of whether Serena was fairly treated will rage for some days to come, with players, commentators and personalities all weighing in.
In the meantime, let this young unassuming girl named Naomi bask in the glory of her victory. If New York is making her Queen for a day, just imagine what kind of reception she’ll get when she heads back to Japan, and reaches her home town of Osaka (no prize for guessing that!). Endorsements, appearance money, cutting ribbons, you name it; her life is about to change dramatically. That should all go nicely with the $3.8 million check she just picked up as US Open Women’s Champion. Thanks to Naomi, the Crazy Rich Asians year continues!
Photos from @usopen