Naomi Osaka 'emotional' after gut-wrenching win over Serena

Elena Summers
September 9, 2018

Flushing Meadows crowd's boos, screams and jeers clouded what should have been a shining moment for Osaka, after all this was her first Grand Slam title and a first for Japan.

Shy and slightly awkward off court, albeit with a natural comic touch, the 20-year-old showed steeliness and composure to defeat Madison Keys in her first slam semi-final, saving all 13 break points she faced.

Asked if the umpire had to give her the warning, Williams responded: "No, because I wasn't being coached".

Added Williams, with a laugh: "I really hope to continue to go and play here again".

Despite having time to comprehend what happened during the match, Williams was not backing down from her comments on the court afterwards.

Osaka apologized to the crowd.

"Because I'm a woman, you're going to take this away from me?" she yelled. "I just wanted to say thank you for watching the match", she said. The arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and the three code violations - one that gave Osaka a game for a 5-3 lead in the second set when Williams was trying to rally - will be what was most remembered. There was no thumbs-up sign. It may have looked [like] I was getting coaching, but that's what I do. He also said everyone does it and usually is not called for it.

Williams continued protesting to Ramos during a changeover and after Osaka broke back the American smashed her racquet in frustration, earning a second code violation and a one-point deduction. The ensuing penalties would first cost her a point, and then a game. Mouratoglou did it in a more obvious way, tennis coaches around the world have more subtle ways too.


It was no real surprise to see Williams blitz Anastasija Sevastova 6-3 6-0 to reach her 31st slam final but Osaka's clash with Keys was a much more hard match to predict.

Osaka's moment of making history came on the day of weird events which may reduce her victory to be a footnote in what what is sure to go down as one of the most infamous matches ever played at Flushing Meadows. "I know that everyone was cheering for [Serena]", Osaka said. I feel like it's more fun on the big stages.

During the trophy presentation, fans were displeased with how the match had ended - Williams supporters were certainly displeased with the fact that the greatest to ever play the game hadn't had the chance to win or lose on her own merits.

"When you just come back and then you make the finals of two slams, I think that's really incredible". You stole a point from me.

The chair umpire assessed a point penalty for the outburst - giving Clijsters the match. The umpire instantly awarded a game to Osaka citing a "verbal abuse call" against Williams.

The caveat is that Williams was playing only her second tournament following the birth of daughter Olympia and was so disgusted by her performance that she walked off the court and left the grounds immediately. "Very odd to happen in a grand slam final", he said.

Osaka, who became the first Japanese woman to clinch a Grand Slam singles title, was a picture of calm in the midst of her opponent's meltdown that cast a pall over the final.

There are matters that need to be looked into that took place during the match. It was a muted celebration befitting a player who stood out these last two weeks for her levelheadedness. This is her moment.

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