4.05 am: Well, that wraps up the live blog from our end. Thank you for tuning in, whoever did from wherever across the world. A memorable final between two great players. Naomi Osaka, the 2020 US Open champion.
3.54 pm: As always, Osaka stamps her originality when she speaks. Said she doesn’t want to play Azarenka again in a final because it’s been so tough! Says it’s an inspiration to play against someone she grew up watching. And hopes that she created enough awareness about the masks she wore. What a champion!
3.49 pm: Azarenka says she was hoping third time would be her lucky charm at Arthur Ashe but says how good it has been to have fun on court again. A great few weeks for her in New York.
3.47 pm: Naomi Osaka has not lost a Grand Slam final yet, beating champions in tough finals over the last 3 years:
2018 US Open - Serena Williams
2019 Aus Open - Petra Kvitova
2020 US Open - Victoria Azarenka
OSAKA IS US OPEN CHAMPION: She just goes over to the center of court and lies down on her back, staring upwards for a few minutes and taking it all in. What a few weeks in New York for her. On and off the court. Kudos, Osaka. Kudos!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 6-3 Azarenka: NAOMI OSAKA IS THE US OPEN CHAMPION AGAIN! The match ends with a sensational rally but despite some great rallying by Azarenka, Osaka is able to convert her second match point. THREE-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION, OSAKA!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *5-3 Azarenka: Azarenka saves one match point. A rally that Osaka dictated but she sends a backhand long.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *5-3 Azarenka: Osaka misses the first serve but Azarenka cannot make the most of the second serve, goes too hard and too early on the forehand. Championship points for Osaka!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *5-3 Azarenka: Good start for Azarenka, 0-15. But Osaka pumps herself up after a forehand winner 15-15. A superb wide serve is not returned. Osaka is now two points away.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *5-3 Azarenka: OSAKA BREAKS BACK! At 30-30, one of the points of the match so far but Osaka, who dictated that rally, finishes it off superbly. And Azarenka sends the ball long to give Osaka the break of serve back. The fourth seed will now serve for the championship!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 4-3 Azarenka: BACK ON SERVE IN THE DECIDER! Azarenka takes the Osaka service game to deuce again, this time with a superb forehand winner. And she has another chance to break the serve again, and she DOES IT! Fist bumps from Azarenka as Osaka sends a backhand long. What looked like a fairly easy hold has turned out otherwise for her. WE REPEAT: THE MATCH IS NOT OVER YET!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *4-2 Azarenka: What a game! What a hold for Azarenka. A sensationally well-constructed point gives Osaka two more break point opportunities at 15-40. Azarenka comes up with a brilliant serve down the middle and then a nice 1-2 punch with a serve out wide followed by a backhand winner. Deuce. Osaka pounces on the second serve to have a third break point in that game but cannot convert that either. But she stays in the game by forcing a couple more deuces. And forces a fourth break point with a brilliant backhand down the line winner, but cannot convert. Over seven minutes long now, this game. Azarenka then digs deep with sensational defence to stay alive. A superb second serve helps her hold. The veteran showed superb character in that game. This is not over yet.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *4-1 Azarenka: Hang on, now. Osaka faces three break points on her serve. She saves one with an inside out forehand winner, then a good serve is returned long, while Azarenka goes too hard on a second serve. All three break points saved. And she comes up with two good points after that to avoid giving up the break of serve. What a brilliant, clutch hold by the fourth seed from 0-40 down.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 *3-1 Azarenka: Oh dear, a double fault from Azarenka sees Osaka have two massive break points in the decider. She then comes up with a sensational forehand down the line winner to save one of those break points. But then Osaka keeps the pressure on Azarenka with a series of powerful shots from baseline and finishes off the rally with a deep backhand that is not returned. OSAKA INTO THE LEAD!
Osaka 1-6 6-3 2-1 Azarenka: The fourth seed holds serve in the third game with an ace out wide. Her first serve % has held steady at close to 70% but she is winning many more points on her serve clearly. She also has 6 aces to Azarenka’s 2.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 1-1 Azarenka: The Belarusian is now egging herself on ever so more significantly. She needed that service hold too. We are level at 1-1 to start things off in the decider.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 1-0 Azarenka: With a winner that painted the sideline, Osaka takes the lead in the decider. Good service hold.
2.58 am: And as a result of that break of serve in the second, Osaka will serve first in the third set. That is a good advantage to have.
Osaka 1-6 6-3 Azarenka: WE HAVE A DECIDER! SECOND SET OSAKA! It looked like a comfortable hold for Azarenka but Osaka keeps the pressure on with some big-hitting to force deuce and then forces an error to have a set point. Azarenka pumps herself up with an overhead smash after rushing to the net. Then a good serve out wide. Osaka then comes up with a series of deep shots to bring the game back to deuce. And she then takes it to deuce with a sensational crosscourt forehand which leaves Azarenka stranded at the net. A lucky net chord gives Azarenka advantage again but she nets a backhand to take it to deuce as the game crosses eight minutes in duration. A loud come on from Osaka as she crunches a forehand return winner and it’s set point #2. And Osaka takes the 2nd set with a forehand winner.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 *5-3 Azarenka: A cool ace, followed by a lovely one-two punch and Osaka holds her serve to go up 5-3. All the pressure on Azarenka now.
Opinion alert: That Pam Shriver tweet about Naomi Osaka might just be the worst sports tweet of 2020 (and top 5 all time).
Second set, Osaka 1-6 *4-3 Azarenka: MOMENTUM SHIFT ON ARTHUR ASHE! Osaka has a look at 0-30 on Azarenka’s serve. A superb return of serve by Osaka sees the Japanese having three break point opportunities. Azarenka saves one, but she sends a relatively straightforward backhand wide and the fourth seed is into the lead!
Second set, Osaka 1-6 3-3 Azarenka: Now, that should give her a lot of confidence. A hold at love for Osaka and we are all level at 3-3 in this second set.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 2-3 Azarenka: The Belarusian is still serving at a very high level. 87% of her first serves have been good and she has won 70% of those points. The numbers are 68% and 38% in contrast for Osaka. She pumps herself up after another easy hold, goes to her chair and does some meditation, something that we have seen before at the tournament already. She’s finding great balance between being aggressive during points and calm away from them.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 2-2 Azarenka: Azarenka turns what might have been an unlucky netchord into a superb inside-out slice volley that turns viciously to make it 30-30. Osaka’s serving is much better now though. She wraps that up game with a brilliant ace down the middle.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 1-2 Azarenka: Osaka has a brief look at Azarenka’s serve at 30-30 but the Belarusian comes up with a superb backhand winner. And then probably the best forehand of the match so far by Osaka takes the game to deuce. A patient rally from the Japanese after that and she has the first break point of the night. And she converts it as Azarenka sends a forehand long! There we go, Osaka levels thing up in the second set.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 0-*2 Azarenka: Oh dear, Osaka goes down 15-40 in her first service game of the second set. Takes her time and comes up with the first ace of the match to save one break point but a superb backhand from Azarenka sees her convert yet another break point and take a 2-0 lead. This is getting out of hand fast for Azarenka.
Second set, Osaka 1-6 0-1 Azarenka: Another comfortable hold by Azarenka to start off the second set. Osaka under pressure.
First set, Osaka 1-6 Azarenka: FIRST BLOOD AZARENKA! Wow, honestly did not see that coming. Azarenka all the way in the first set. Her serving was near perfect and she got the groundstrokes just right. Osaka needs to get her radar right, and fast. 13 unforced errors from her racquet.
First set, Osaka 1-5* Azarenka: Solid fight shown by Osaka in that game, she is starting to get more depth on her ground strokes. At 40-40, Azarenka finally misses a first serve in the set. A couple of good rallies in that game but eventually, Azarenka holds on. The Japanese will now have to serve to stay in the first set.
02.05 am: It is not looking good for Osaka...she needs to find some rhythm and do so soon.
First set, Osaka 1-4* Azarenka: A second double fault of the match gives Azarenka a chance to go two breaks up...and she does! Errors flowing from the racket of Osaka and she’s in danger of losing the first set in a hurry.
First set, Osaka 1-3* Azarenka: The rallies are starting to lengthen as both players find their feet. A good point at 3-15 that Azarenka takes after moving Osaka side to side. And then a big “come on” with a superb forehand down the line winner. Another solid service game by the unseeded veteran.
First set, Osaka 1-2* Azarenka: Better from the 2018 champion. Steady shots, better serves and a nice crosscourt forehand winner in that game. She gets on board with a hold at 15.
First set, Osaka 0-2* Azarenka: And Azarenka consolidates the break of serve with an easy hold at love. Osaka’s radar is not quite going yet.
First set, Osaka 0-1* Azarenka: Well, well. We start with a break of serve. Nerves for Osaka, as she doesn’t get her serving radar right. She goes down 15-40, saves one break point but then sends a forehand long as Azarenka takes the early lead.
01.46 pm: Osaka to serve. Here we go.
01.42 am: Osaka said she hoped to wear seven different masks during the US Open with names of seven different victims of racial injustice. And she has had the chance to do just that. So much respect for what she has done with the platform she has been given.
01.39 am: The players are making their way out in the middle. First is Azarenka, two-time finalist at US Open who is yet to win the title here in New York. Next is Osaka, who won her first Major at this very venue in 2018.
01.28 am: The excitement is building ahead of the final.
01.26 am: If the semi-finals that these two women won were any indication, we are in for a high-quality final. Both players had to dig deep to find a way through to the title clash.
01.25 am: Hello and welcome to live updates of the 2020 US Open 2020 women’s singles final between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka. This is Vinayakk Mohanarangan and along with my colleague Zenia D’Cunha, we will bring you live updates from what promises to be a cracking final.
Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka will both be looking to capture a third Grand Slam title when they clash in the final of the behind-closed-doors US Open. But the similarities between the two end there.
For Osaka, the fourth seed, it would be a third tennis major trophy in two years. For Azarenka, a former world number one, it would be a first since 2013.
It’s a matchup between one of the game’s young stars, going from strength to strength, and a veteran whose career is rejuvenated after off-the-court struggles.
Buckle in for the ride, it promises to be a thrilling one.