Naomi Osaka wrote her name in Japanese sporting history on Sept. 8, becoming the country’s first singles Grand Slam champion by beating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the U.S. Open final in New York.
In the players’ second meeting, Osaka kept her record unblemished against the player regarded by most as the best-ever, dominating the first set and then overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the second to deny Williams a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam trophy.
It will also be a huge umpiring controversy to go down in history.
Williams was handed a code violation after arguing with the umpire and calling him a “thief” after he took a point away for receiving coaching from her box.
The moment put something of a dampener on Osaka’s win as boos rained down on the court from the Flushing Meadows crowd.
“I know that everybody was cheering for her. I’m sorry it had to end like this. I just want to say thank you for watching the match,” said 20-year-old Osaka.
Williams, in tears during and after the match, tried to ensure the moment was not ruined for Osaka.
“(Osaka) played well, this is her first Grand Slam. I know (the crowd) were here rooting. Let’s make this the best moment we can. Let’s not boo anymore,” she said.
The two first met in March in the first round of the Miami Open, a match Osaka won decisively 6-3, 6-2. (Kyodo)