Osaka beats Brady to secure second Australian Open title - GulfToday

Osaka beats Brady to secure second Australian Open title


Naomi Osaka (L) holds the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup trophy beside runner-up Jennifer Brady in Melbourne on Saturday. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Naomi Osaka crushed Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3 to secure her second Australian Open title on Saturday and cement her standing as the new queen of the women's game.

Osaka's one-sided win over the 22nd-seeded American in the final at Rod Laver Arena gave the Japanese juggernaut her fourth major crown, with her career still budding at the age of 23.

Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match. Reuters 

She joined Monica Seles and Roger Federer as winners in their first four Grand Slam finals, marking her out as the ultimate big match performer. "My reaction is that that's very amazing company," Osaka told reporters, sitting next to the winner's Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

"I hope that I can have one grain of how their career has unfolded. But you can only wish and you can only just keep going down your own path. "But it's definitely something crazy to hear."

On a cool and breezy night at Rod Laver Arena, Osaka warmed up with two aces but the fast start fizzled out in a stream of errors from both players.

Osaka-AutographNaomi Osaka gives autographs to her fans after winning her women's singles final. AFP

A nervous Brady was especially culpable, spraying 18 unforced errors in the opening set.

Both players dropped their serve before Brady breathed some life into the contest at 4-4, luring Osaka in with a drop-shot, then scrambling forward to retrieve and lob her for break point.

Osaka cancelled it nervelessly with an imperious forehand winner fired from the baseline and hung tight until Brady gifted her the lead.

Serving to stay in the set at 5-4, Brady slapped a wild forehand over the baseline to cough up set point then stepped in to pound a would-be forehand winner straight into the net.

The crowd groaned and Brady went to her chair ashen-faced. Osaka seized the momentum, breaking Brady again in the second game of the second set with a sumptuous crosscourt backhand winner.

She rolled on to a 4-0 lead before Brady belatedly conjured some resistance to break Osaka. The American clawed back to 5-3 but bowed out as she started, smashing wild returns to allow Osaka to serve out the match without trouble.
Osakaauthograph-AUSNaomi Osaka gives autographs to her fans after winning her women's singles final. AFP

It was a forgettable display from Brady's racket but she had a remarkable run in Melbourne, after being one of the 72 players unable to train during their two-week hard quarantine in the lead-up.

"I think she's human like the rest of us in this room," Brady told reporters of Osaka. "She just brings out her best in the big moments.  "But I don't think, you know, she's God," she added with a smile. "I think maybe Serena is. Maybe she'll get there, I don't know."

The 23-year-old became the first women's player to win her first four Grand Slam finals since Monica Seles in 1991.

Here is how her two US Opens and two Australian Opens were won:

US Open 2018

Osaka, 20, became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title by beating her idol Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 in a match marred by the American calling chair umpire Carlos Ramos "a thief" after being penalised.

Osaka-BallNaomi Osaka poses with the trophy and ball kids. Reuters

A composed Osaka brushed aside the drama to record just her second career title, but her triumph was soured when the American crowd booed during the trophy presentation. Osaka tried to hide her tears and was consoled by Williams.

Seeded 20th, Osaka dropped just one set during the tournament and became the youngest US Open champion since Maria Sharapova in 2006.

Australian Open 2019

Osaka backed up her New York breakthrough by battling past Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 in a gripping final at Melbourne Park.

She overcame a trio of three-set matches en route to the final, but her hard-fought triumph meant she became the first Asian, male or female, to ascend to the world's top ranking.

Osaka, who wept tears of joy after a titanic battle lasting more than two hours, became the youngest woman to win back-to-back majors since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

US Open 2020

The 22-year-old came from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka to clinch her third Grand Slam title.

The fourth seed fought back from 1-6, 0-2 behind to overcome her unseeded opponent from Belarus 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 inside an Arthur Ashe Stadium devoid of fans at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka-TwocupsOsaka with the winning trophies of Australian Open (L)  2019 and  2021. AFP

Osaka walked on to the court wearing a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old African-American boy who was shot dead by a white police officer in Cleveland, Ohio in 2014.

Osaka, of Japanese and Haitian heritage, won widespread praise for her support of the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing different masks each round to honour victims of racial injustice and police brutality.

Australian Open 2021

Beats Brady 6-4, 6-3 in just 77 minutes to complete a remarkable Covid-interrupted 12 months and 21 matches without a defeat on court.

Osaka broke the American twice in each set, and although Brady clawed back one of the breaks each time, she was ultimately undone by the firepower of the Japanese superstar in front of thousands of fans at Rod Laver Arena.

The world's top-earning female athlete, Osaka was pushed hardest in the fourth round when she had to save two match points against Garbine Muguruza but thereafter never looked in danger.


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