Naomi Osaka Beats Azarenka in US Open Final to Win 3rd Grand Slam

The Quint
·4-min read

In the first Grand Slam post the spread of COVID-19, fourth seed Naomi Osaka denied Victoria Azarenka a US Open title with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in the women’s singles final on late Saturday night.

In accordance with the new social distancing norms, both finalists lifted their own trophies off the table after the 22-year-old Osaka won her second US Open title (2018, 2020) and third major overall, having won the Australian Open last year.

With this win, the Japanese tennis player became the first woman since Jennifer Capriati (2001 Australian Open, 2001 French Open, 2002 Australian Open) to win her first three Grand Slam finals.

Belarus's Azarenka, stormed to win the first set 6-1 in just 26 minutes while Osaka was uncharacteristically sloppy hitting a whopping 13 unforced errors.

At the start of the second set, Azarenka broke again for a 2-0 lead, but from there Osaka fought back to break her opponent's serve twice and took a 4-3 lead.

Osaka then gained the momentum and broke a third time to take the match to a deciding set.

"I think in the first set I was so nervous, I wasn't moving my feet. I felt like I was not playing to my best. There are too many things in my head. It would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour so I just have to try my best," Osaka said of the turnaround.

Osaka broke in the fourth game of the third set to take a comfortable 3-1 lead. In the next game, Azarenka blew a golden opportunity to get back into the match, wasting all three break points as Osaka recovered from 0-40 down to hold for a 4-1 lead.

After that, Osaka dominated and claimed the set 6-3.

The 31-year-old Azarenka who defeated two top-five seeds on the way to her first Grand Slam final in seven years, had previously lost the US Open final in 2012 and 2013.

“I thought third time was a charm but I guess I’ll have to try again,” said Azarenka during the victory ceremony as she congratulated Osaka on the win.

In response, the 22-year-old said, “I actually don’t want to play you in more finals. I didn’t really enjoy that. That was a really tough match for me. And yes, really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger so just to have the opportunity to play you is really great and I learned a lot.”

With the runner-up finish, Azarenka said she's proud of herself.

"I haven't had such results in quite a long time, so I'm very excited for it. Today, it's a loss, but it doesn't change for me much. Of course I would have loved to win today. It is what it is," Azarenka said.

"I gave everything that I could today on the court. I felt that I progressed a lot. I've played a lot of great matches. I felt that I've tested myself physically, mentally on very difficult stages. It's been great. I want to continue to keep going the same way, enjoy myself," she added.

For every match in the championship, Osaka sported facemasks with names of African Americans who have been victims of racial injustice or police brutality.

(With inputs from IANS)

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