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

1 / 2
Osaka with her first Grand Slam trophy. (AFP)
2 / 2
Updated 09 September 2018
0

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.
 


Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

Updated 23 January 2019
0

Underdogs with bite and sloppy South Korea: What we learned from the Asian Cup second round

  • Can the mighty minnows continue impressive run in the UAE?
  • Or will the big guns start to fire in quarterfinals?

LONDON: Asia’s biggest sporting spectacle has reached its quarterfinal stage — and it’s time for teams to find their A-game. While there are few surprises in the last-eight lineup, the form of some of the big-name sides has been less than impressive. Here we deliver our verdict on the second round.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT — Saudi Arabia’s attack

The Green Falcons started the tournament at top speed. They came in as one of the cup favorites and in their opening two matches illustrated why. A 4-0 thrashing of North Korea was backed up with a relatively simple 2-0 victory over Lebanon. Understandably, that raised hopes that Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men could go all the way in the UAE. Alas, it was not to be as a 2-0 defeat to Qatar in their last group clash left them with a tricky tie against Japan. For all their efforts Saudi Arabia were unable to find the back of the net, the lack of firepower upfront costing Pizzi’s team yet again.



BIGGEST SHOCK — South Korean sloppiness

Boosted by the arrival of Tottenham star Son Heung-Min, South Korea were rightly declared the pre-tournament favorites. They had firepower up front, intelligence and creativity in midfield, and experience at the back. In the four matches in the UAE so far, however, they have looked anything but potential champions. They labored to beat Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines and China in the group stage before almost being shocked by part-timers Bahrain in the second round. South Korea now face Qatar in the last eight and, as Son said after their extra-time win over Bahrain, they need to significantly improve if they are to avoid a shock exit before the semis.



UNDER PRESSURE — Alberto Zaccheroni and the UAE



The Whites owe their place in the last eight to luck more than skill. In some ways that is not a surprise — the hosts came into the tournament without their talisman, the injured Omar Abdulrahman, and on the back of a patchy run of form. But, still, the performances on home soil have been underwhelming to say the least. That was summed up with their extra-time win over Kyrgyzstan, who were playing in their first Asian Cup. It was a far-from-convincing performance and Central Asians were unlucky not to beat Zaccheroni’s side. The UAE will have to deliver their best performance for some time if they are to progress further. Their opponents, Australia, have also performed poorly, which may offer them some encouragement.



BEST HIGHLIGHT — The mighty minnows

The big guns have not had it all their own way. That may annoy their fans, but it does show that Asian football is improving. Only a few years ago the idea that Kyrgyzstan, Bahrain and Jordan would look the equals of Australia and Co. would have seemed fanciful. But in the past two weeks the standard shown by the so-called lesser lights has been impressive — and great to watch. Last summer five Asian teams appeared at the World Cup for the first time and it was hoped that showing would act as a springboard for further progress across the continent. On the evidence of the action in the UAE that wish could be coming true.

 

PREDICTIONS