New York: Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Saturday prevailed over American tennis ace Serena Williams in a dramatic final of the US Open, where the latter was handed a code violation and called the chair umpire a “thief.”
Osaka defeated her idol 6-2, 6-4 to deny Williams a record 24th major Grand Slam at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, thus becoming the first Japanese player to win a singles title of a major tournament.
The World No. 19 Japanese tennis player got off to a strong start, outwitting Williams with glorious shots in the first set. She maintained her composure and managed to thwart any challenge from the 23-time Grand Slam champion.
The drama unfolded in the second set when Portuguese umpire Carlos Ramos first gave a code violation warning to Williams when he found out that her French coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was allegedly showing hand signals to the 36-year-old American tennis star.
Upset by the violation, Williams denied the charge and asserted that her coach had given her a thumbs up and demanded an apology from the umpire.
Disgruntled, Williams then smashed her racquet on the court, inviting another code violation, resulting in a point penalty. The American tennis star was even more annoyed by the second charge and called Ramos a “thief”. Subsequently, a full game penalty was levelled against Williams when she was in a heated exchange with an official.
After a brief disruption, the game resumed and a demotivated Williams was forced to surrender the second set to Osaka, who looked unperturbed and kept her cool throughout the match.
The American tennis star finally calmed herself down and embraced the Japanese after the game, bringing an end to a riveting and a controversial final that lasted beyond an hour.
In the prize distribution ceremony, the two players were looking visibly upset, amid the boos from the crowd in protest of the officiating during the match. Williams attempted to play down the controversy by requesting the crowd to stop booing and congratulating Osaka for her victory.
For the American tennis ace, this was her second runner-up finish after she returned to the court following her daughter’s birth. Earlier in July, she lost to Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon women singles’ final.
Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro and Serbian tennis ace Novak Djokovic would lock horns in the men’s singles final on Sunday.