Naomi Osaka won the US Open and her first Grand Slam title amid dramatic scenes after Serena Williams accused the umpire of being a “thief” mid-match on Saturday at Flushing Meadows.
Williams was given a game penalty over the outburst, which followed two earlier code violations as Osaka defeated the 23-time major champion 6-2, 6-4 to earn Japan’s maiden Grand Slam title.
The match should have been about the battle between Williams to secure a record-equalling 24th grand slam title and Osaka, a possible young pretender to her crown and potentially Japan’s first major winner, but instead all the headlines will be about Williams’ feud with umpire Carlos Ramos that ended up dominating proceedings.
Williams’ anger was sparked early in the second set when she was slapped with a coaching violation after a hand gesture from coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
She then smashed her racket after dropping serve at 3-3, which lost her a point for a second violation. An unhappy Williams continued her spat with Ramos as the players changed ends, earning a game penalty for a third violation after she called him “a thief” for taking away a point.
The penalty put Osaka 5-3 ahead and an upset Williams then argued her case with tournament officials to no avail.
Williams held serve in the next game, but Osaka, who managed to keep her cool throughout the controversy, then served out for the victory against her childhood idol.
The drama took away from Osaka’s play in the first set, during which she dealt extremely well with her more experienced opponent’s power game to break serve twice.
Then, the 20-year old Osaka somehow managed to remain calm, covering her head with a towel to block things out as Serena lost her cool with Ramos.
Despite losing, Williams embraced her young opponent after the final point, but refused to shake Ramos’ hand.
The presentation ceremony began with boos from the crowd before a tearful Williams said: “I don’t want to be rude. I don’t want to do questions.
“I just want to tell you guys she played well. Let’s make this the best moment we can and get through it and give credit where credit is due. No more booing. Let’s be positive.”
Osaka, also in tears, said: “I know everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this. I just want to say thank you for watching the match.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals. I’m really glad I was able to do that.”
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