Friday 25 September, 2020

Serena Williams argues with chair umpire; Osaka wins US Open final

Naomi Osaka, of Japan, reacts after winning a point against Serena Williams during the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.

Naomi Osaka, of Japan, reacts after winning a point against Serena Williams during the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.

Naomi Osaka claimed her maiden grand slam title in truly extraordinary circumstances at the US Open, as a furious Serena Williams became embroiled in a stunning row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

The ice-cool Osaka triumphed 6-2 6-4 at Flushing Meadows to become Japan's first grand slam singles champion, yet that immense achievement was overshadowed by sensational scenes of anger on the other side of the net.

Six-time US Open winner Williams, who remains one short of Margaret Court's record haul of 24 major singles titles, was initially disgusted after receiving a coaching violation from the umpire during the second set.

Williams was later handed a point penalty for smashing her racquet and was then docked a game after continuing her protests at Ramos, seemingly calling the official a "thief".

To her immense credit, Osaka held her nerve among the chaos to claim victory, after Williams had remonstrated emotionally with the tournament referee, insisting she had been unfairly treated.

Both players were in tears during the subsequent trophy presentation, which was initially greeted with loud boos.

Either side of the intense arguments that blighted the showpiece, Osaka – who idolises Serena and is coached by Williams' former hitting partner, Sascha Bajin – was simply magnificent.

While much attention will focus on Williams' rage, the 20-year-old underdog deserves immense credit, having outplayed the biggest name in the game on the grandest stage.

After a spine-tingling roar had greeted Williams' entrance, Osaka seized control from the outset, matching her rival's power from the baseline and also displaying superior movement and accuracy as she dominated the first set.

Serena then reacted furiously early in the second when she received a coaching violation from umpire Ramos.

Insisting she had not been guided from her box, the veteran angrily approached Ramos and said: "I understand why you may have thought that was coaching, but I'm telling you it's not. I don't cheat to win. I'd rather lose."

The intensity level was rising as Serena finally earned success on the Osaka serve to lead 3-1, only to then be hampered by more double faults as she gave the break straight back and duly received a point penalty for following that coaching violation by smashing her racquet.

Williams screamed at the umpire, insisting he owed her an apology over the coaching violation, and reiterating: "I have never cheated in my life."

Yet the drama was not over there as a further rant at the next changeover landed Williams a game penalty, prompting her to call for the referee and break down in tears, stating: "This is not fair."

When play finally resumed, amid a hostile atmosphere, Osaka somehow kept her composure to seal a landmark win, one that hopefully earns the credit it deserves.

Osaka [20] bt Williams [17] 6-2 6-4

Osaka - 16/14
Williams - 21/21

Osaka - 6/1
Williams - 3/6

Osaka - 4/5
Williams - 1/6

Osaka - 73
Williams - 55

Osaka - 73/40
Williams - 63/44

Osaka - 60
Williams - 50


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