US Open 2018: Osaka wins 2018 championship as controversy shrouds the Ladies' Final at Arthur AsheCreated On: Sep 09, 2018
Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets in finals of U.S.Open on Saturday and won her maiden grand slam title.
I know everyone was cheering for her and I'm sorry it had to end like this, I just want to say thank you for watching the match." These were the US Open 2018 Women's singles Champion Naomi Osaka's exact words standing on the podium after creating history, becoming the first Japanese player to become a Grand Slam singles champion.
On a night marred with controversies and angry meltdowns, what with the 23,000 strong crowd booing during the presentation ceremony, a certain 20-year old maintained her poise and composure enough to come out of it with every bit of respect and admiration that she has garnered over the past two weeks.
Osaka, impervious to the pro-Serena crowd, cheering on her own childhood idol, raced to a 4-1 lead first up, with the help of her powerful groundstrokes and impressive service that had brought her thus far, and not long after, contrary to popular expectations the Japanese had the opening set in her bag.
The drama started in the second set, with Williams leading 1-0. Chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave a code violation warning to Serena after he saw her coach Patrick Mouratoglou making hand signals from the player's box, in defiance to the rules of a player not being allowed to receive on-court coaching; to which the 23-time major winner protested vehemently, all the time maintaining that she never cheats, that she would rather lose than adopt any unfair means.
The matter seemed to end there. However, Williams got broken at 3-2 and a racket abuse brought her her second code violation and consequently a point penalty. The 36-year old retaliated by saying,"Every time I play here, I have problems. I did not have coaching, I don't cheat. You need to make an announcement. I have a daughter and I stand for what's right. You owe me an apology."Even after this tirade, the American could not control her emotions and at the next change of ends had another go at Ramos, calling him a 'liar' and a 'thief'. "For you to attack my character is wrong. You owe me an apology. You will never be on a court with me as long as you live. You are the liar. You owe me an apology. Sayit. Say you're sorry. How dare you insinuate that I was cheating You stole a point from me. You're a thief too. "
The umpire leveled a third code violation for verbal abuse and gave an extremely rare game penalty to Williams, making the score 3-5, and taking Osaka to within one game of winning her maiden Grand Slam. At this point, Serena demanded that the match referee Brian Early come out to the court. As Early made his way out, the American vented out her anger and frustration, clearly stating that the action of the umpire was gender biased and that there were many 'men' who had said things but were not penalized as heavily as she was.
Amidst all the hue and cry, a kid playing her first major final, that too against her childhood idol, very admiringly kept her nerves in check. When play resumed, she was her old self, calmness personified in her demeanor and fieriness personified in her game, as she served out the match to end a dream run that had started a fortnight ago.
And yet, her greatest moment was overshadowed by the boos of the Arthur Ashe crowd, her incredible win shrouded by doubts on whether she was deserving enough. The Japanese did celebrate the victory as a Champion should, and ended up apologizing to the crowd for defeating their favorite.
19 years after Serena Williams won her first US Open, Naomi Osaka who was just 1 then, defeated someone she had looked up to as a child, but the moment, that should have been exhilarating, was as much daunting for her, and she had just her visor to hide her tears and the overwhelming wave of emotions she must have been feeling taking centre stage among 23000 odd people who had expected otherwise.
For Serena, the 24th remains elusive, asshe loses her second consecutive major final after Wimbledon this year.Naomi Osaka won $3.8 million as US OPEN 2018 prize money whereas Serena Williams was hit with a $17,000 fine over her conduct during the US Open final.