Naomi Osaka makes history with US Open victory over angry Serena Williams

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Osaka with her first Grand Slam trophy. (AFP)
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Updated 09 September 2018
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Naomi Osaka makes history with US Open victory over angry Serena Williams

  • Japanese star shocks Serena in bad-tempered final in New York.
  • Serena in showdown with umpire calling him a "thief" and is fined $17,000 for her outburst.

Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam singles title on Saturday as her idol Serena Williams angrily imploded, calling the chair umpire in the US Open final “a thief.”
Osaka, 20, triumphed 6-2, 6-4 in the match marred by Williams’s second set outburst, the American enraged by umpire Carlos Ramos’s warning for receiving coaching from her box, the tantrum later resulted in a $17,000 fine. 
When a second code violation for racquet abuse was handed out to her — along with a point penalty — Williams exploded.
She tearfully accused him of being a “thief” and angrily demanded an apology from the official.
“You’re attacking my character,” she said. “You will never, ever be on another court of mine. You are the liar,” she fumed and Ramos handed her a game penalty for a third violation — verbal abuse — that put Osaka one game from victory at 5-3 in the second set.
Williams won the next game, and continued her tearful remonstrations with a supervisor on the changeover.
But Osaka — who displayed not only a stellar game but remarkable poise throughout — held serve to seal a historic win for her country.
“It doesn’t really feel that real right now. Maybe in a few days I’ll realize what I’ve done,” said Osaka, adding that the noise was so great in Arthur Ashe Stadium and her focus so single-minded that she wasn’t fully aware of the escalating controversy.
“When I turned around it was 5-3 so I was a little bit confused then,” she said of the game suddenly awarded to her.
“I felt like I had to focus. She’s such a great champion so I know she can come back from any point.”

Serena Williams during her angry outburst which dominated all the talk after the final. 

Williams, seeking a first Grand Slam title since the birth of her daughter Olympia on Sept. 1 last year, was denied a 24th Grand Slam title that would have matched Margaret Court’s all-time record.
As the pro-Williams crowed booed the trophy ceremony announcer, Osaka was tearing up herself, but Williams urged the spectators to show the young champion respect.
“She played well,” Williams said, pausing to compose herself.
“This is her first Grand Slam. Let’s make this the best moment we can.”
When it was Osaka’s turn she seemed at a loss, apologizing to the crowd.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals,” she added, turning to Williams herself.
“I’m really grateful I was able to play with you, thank you.”
Williams’s outburst overshadowed an outstanding performance from Osaka, who made her second career title a Grand Slam after winning her first at Indian Wells in March.
A match with history at stake for both players got off to a tense start and it was Williams who blinked first, double-faulting on break point to give Osaka a 2-1 lead.
After a confident hold punctuated by a 106 mph ace Osaka broke again to lead 4-1, silencing the crowd.
They came to life again as Williams gained her first break chance, which Osaka saved with a 117 mph service winner. Williams squandered one more chance before Osaka sealed the hold with another big serve.
It was in the second game of the second set that Williams was warned for receiving coaching, a charge she vigorously denied.
“I don’t cheat to win,” she said. “I’d rather lose.”
Coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted in an interview with ESPN that he was trying to advise her with a hand gesture, although Williams was apparently oblivious.
“The star of the show has been once again the chair umpire,” he tweeted.
“Should they be allowed have an influence on the result of a match? When do we decide that this should never happen again?“
Williams was up 2-1 on the changeover when she spoke again with Ramos appearing to smooth things over, and she finally found a way to break Osaka for a 3-1 lead.
The tranquility didn’t last long. When Osaka broke back with the aid of two double faults and a backhand into the net from Williams, the American smashed her racquet to the court. A second code violation came with a point penalty to start the next game that sent her into orbit.
“I didn’t get coaching. I haven’t cheated in my life. I stand for what’s right,” insisted Williams as they headed into the sixth game — in which Osaka held at love.
After Osaka broke for a 4-3 lead Williams continued her verbal assault on Ramos, who docked her a game for a third violation that put Osaka up 5-3.
The scene recalled Williams’s ugly rant at a line judge in her US Open semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters in 2009 and her verbal attack on chair umpire Eva Asderaki in her 2011 final loss to Samantha Stosur.
Williams said she didn’t know if she would have managed to turn things around if the dispute with Ramos had not occurred.
“It’s hard to say because I always fight till the end and I always try to come back, no matter what.”

Williams was later fined $17,000 by the US Tennis Association for the controverial her outburst.
The coaching violation carried a $4,000 fine, while a second violation for racquet abuse cost her $3,000.
The second violation also cost her a point in the match, sparking her renewed verbal attack on Ramos, a code violation which carried a $10,000 fine.
 


Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

Updated 15 November 2018
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Francesco Molinari looking for ‘dream’ end to season in Dubai at DP World Tour Championship

  • 2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari
  • If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events

LONDON: Francesco Molinari is looking to end a fairytale season by becoming the European No. 1 at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which starts today, and the first Italian to achieve the feat.
2018 has been an incredible year for Molinari, with a maiden Major victory in the Open Championship in July, which followed a first Rolex event victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May. He has also not missed a single cut this season, a run that extends over four years in regular European Tour events.
And in a glorious Ryder Cup for the Europeans, he became the first player from the continent to win five points out of five, while securing the winning point in his singles match against USA’s Phil Mickelson.
Speaking to journalists ahead of today’s tee-off, the Italian said: “It feels incredible, a new position for me, I’ve never been here in the past.
“I think it’s just a consequence and a sign of an incredible season. I would have never guessed that I would be here in this position if you told me in April or May this year but it’s been an incredible summer, topped by an unbelievable Ryder Cup.
“Really, it’s a dream season for me and it’s nice to be here in this position. Hopefully I’ll be able to close it out. I know it’s not going to be easy and I’m not making any assumptions but I’ll do my best on the course to do the job.
And when asked about his prospects of winning the Harry Vardon trophy this weekend, he said: “You can have the best week of your life and win one tournament but to win a competition that lasts throughout the season, with the amount of talent there is right now on the European Tour, is something really hard to do but it’s also still hard to figure out for me how I’m here in this position.”
Molinari needs to finish tied-fifth or better at the Jumeirah Golf Estates to seal the Race to Dubai crown, but Ryder Cup partner Tommy Fleetwood — the man he formed such a strong bond with in Paris — is the only man who can prevent him the perfect ending.
Victory for the Englishman on the Earth Course is the only way he can deny Molinari the title, but the Italian was full of praise for his “best friend” and would not begrudge Fleetwood if he successfully defended his Race to Dubai crown.
“I know we said this and we’re going to sound really cheesy but if I don’t win, I’d rather see him win than anyone else,” he said.
“We really are good friends and he’s had an amazing season. To think that he won last year and to come here, still with a chance to win two in a row, it’s incredible, really.
“So fair play to him. What I can say for me is that it’s been a great season and however it goes this week, I’m still going to have lots of great memories from all of what I’ve done this year, and probably the best memory is what we’ve done together with him in France.
“I can’t really be mad at him, even if he wins.”
If Molinari wins this weekend, it would make him just the third player in history to win multiple Rolex Series events and he praised the introduction of the European Tour’s prestige level of tournaments.
“There’s a few events that we target every year,” he said. “It’s great for us to have the opportunity to play in such special tournaments.
“Especially for guys like me, playing a home event in Italy that is part of the Rolex Series, just gives a completely new meaning to the Italian Open.”