Osaka wins first Grand Slam event amid controversy

The U.S. Open women’s championship singles finals was entertaining and filled with frustration on Sept. 8. On the men’s side on Sept. 9 it was sheer glory. A huge crowd included such celebrities as Meryl Streep, Christie Brinkley and Jerry Seinfeld at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Since losing to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the singles finals at Wimbledon three months ago, Serena Williams was again unable to capture her 24th Grand Slam event championship trophy. She lost to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka from Japan in straight sets 6-2, 6-4.

In the first set, Williams looked rattled, struggling early in the match with four early double faults. Osaka looked calm, cool and collected pacing herself with an excellent shot selection that make Williams’ serve twice going up 4-1 in the set. The crowd urged Williams to fight back.

Tempers flared in the second set when Williams argued with chair umpire Carlos Ramos who issued her a warning for “coaching.” Williams responded, “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.” It appeared Williams regained control in the second set up, a break at 3-1 when she smashed her racquet. Osaka climbed back in the match prompting the chair umpire to deduct a point from Williams, who became distraught calling the empire a liar saying, “You stole a point from me” and demanding an apology.

Outbursts continued later. She was issued a game infraction after calling Ramos a thief. Williams finished with six double faults to Osaka’s one and aced out six to three.

Following the match, the two embraced passionately, but Williams appeared to have the utmost respect for her opponent.

“I feel like she was really, really consistent,” Williams told USA Today. “I think her game is always super consistent. I felt like she played really well. She was so focused.”

Osaka apologized to the fans because they were there to witness Williams capturing her 24th championship.

“I know that everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this,” she told USA Today. “I just want to say thank you for watching the match.”

In the men’s final, the sixth-ranked Serbian Novak Djokovic displayed great power and finesse, ensuring his reputation as one of the elite players outhustling Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Fans cheered for every point and game made by Del Potro, who looked stunned at the net as Djokovic kept nailing passing shots. This resulted in a 6-3 first set win.

Del Potro made it interesting in the second set breaking Djokovic at 3-3. A tie-breaker later ensued in the set with Djokovic winning up two sets to none.

The crowd motivated Del Potro and made it interesting in the third set. Trailing 3-1, Del Potro fought back to even the score at 3-3. Djokovic was too much, taking the next three games and the match, then dropped to the ground and threw his racquet to the crowd. Both players embraced, showing mutual respect.

Del Potro explained why Djokovic was the better of the two.

“I’m very sad for being a loser today,” Del Potro told USA Today. But Novak deserved to take the trophy. He played a great match, very smart game.”

Djokovic has tied Pete Sampras for 14 overall Grand Slam championships.