NEW YORK – 20-year-old Naomi Osaka, of Japan, defeated tennis powerhouse Serena Williams to win the 2018 US Open title 6-2, 6-4. Osaka is the first Japanese woman singles player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
The match was marred by arguments between Serena Williams and the chair umpire.
Williams, one of the most dominant players in tennis history, received a code violation for getting coaching after her coach (Patrick Mouratoglou) made a gesture that he admitted after the match was coaching. Williams didn’t see the motion and assumed he was giving her a thumbs up.
Williams sought to clarify her disagreement with the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, during a changeover.
“Umpire, again, I can see where you may have thought that, but I’ve never gotten a coaching violation,” she said. “And I can understand where you may have thought that, but just know that I never cheat.”
Serena later smashed her racket in frustration after a double fault, and received a second code violation, resulting in a point being deducted.
Williams’s ire increased at Ramos at a changeover.
You owe me an apology,” she said. “I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I’ve never cheated, and you owe me an apology. You will never do another one of my matches.”
She then attacked him further.
“And you stole a point from me,” she said. “You’re a thief.”
Ramos then gave her a code violation for verbal abuse. Since it was her third, she got a game penalty to put Osaka up, 5-3.
At that point Williams called for the tournament referee and supervisor, and complained that her punishment was not fair.
“There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me?” she said. “That is not right.”
Williams was fighting to win her 24th grand slam, one short of tying the all-time record held by Australia’s Margaret Court. It would also have been her first as a mother, which is a platform that she has been champing since returning to play.
Osaka served out the U.S. Open title in emphatic fashion, winning 6-2, 6-4 on a 114 m.p.h. serve out wide on her second championship point that Williams could not wrangle back into her court with her backhand.
Osaka covered her eyes with her visor as she walked to the net in disbelief, and the two embraced at the net.
As she shook Ramos’s hand, Williams said once more: “Can I get an apology?” Williams stewed in the center of the court, attracting more boos from the crowd.
A moment of joy for Osaka turned to be subdued as Williams is her tennis idol to see her distraught effecter her emotionally.
Osaka climbed up to her players box, pulled up by her coach, Sascha Bajin. She was embraced by her coach and family, with an emotional moment embracing her mother, both in tears.
Osaka, in her on court interview: “I’m sorry. I know everyone was cheering for her. I’m sorry I’m like this (crying). I just want to say thank you for watching the match”
At her Press conference, Willams addressed the press:
On how she feels-
Serena: “Don’t know how I feel right now, I’m trying to focus on positive things”
On her coaching violation and her coach saying he was trying to coach her –
Serena:”I don’t know why Patrick would say that he was coaching me, I texted him as I came out of the court. We have no codes, I don’t call for on court coaching
If she’s had any prior interactions with Carlos Ramos-
Serena: “No, not at all. He’s always been a great umpire”
On the game deduction penalty for verbal abuse-
Serena:”I’ve seen men saying all sort of things to umpire, I’m here fighting for women and equality, and he was taking a game from me”, “Maybe it didn’t work out for my today, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”
Serena got very emotional and left the press conference.