Played three, won three.
Naomi Osaka maintained her perfect record in Major finals as she came from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to win the US Open on Saturday and clinch her third Grand Slam title.
Seeded fourth, and considered the pre-match favourite, Osaka overcame her unseeded opponent 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes inside a near-empty Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows.
It was not easy. In fact, she looked down and out after losing the first set by a massive margin and going down a break early in the second. The stars were aligning for Azarenka in her third appearance at the US Open final to finally win the title in New York. But the Japanese star rallied back brilliantly to take the game in three sets.
Unlike the two women’s singles semi-finals, it was not always high quality tennis but the two players served a rollercoaster of a summit clash that will be remembered for a long time.
It brought 22-year-old Osaka’s haul of tennis major trophies to three after her victories at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.
Osaka had walked onto 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, wore different masks honoring victims of racial injustice and police brutality in each round of the tournament. The 2019 Australian Open champion also donned face coverings bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to a superb final, celebrating Osaka’s win but also appreciating what a great run it was for Azarenka:
(With AFP inputs)