Home / Sports/ Osaka claims US Open title after Serena meltdown

Osaka claims US Open title after Serena meltdown

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 11 September 2018 00:00



Reuters: Naomi Osaka became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion by thumping Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 in a controversial US Open final on Saturday in which the American suffering a mesmerising meltdown after being given a code violation.

It was drama-filled conclusion to a match rich with storylines that will go down as one of the most controversial Grand Slam finals of all time.

There was much riding on the outcome for both players, with Osaka bidding to become the first man or woman from Japan to lift a Grand Slam singles title and Williams trying to equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 major titles.

In the end, it was Osaka making history but on a day of bizarre events her victory will only be a footnote to what is sure to go down as one of the most infamous matches ever played at Flushing Meadows.

With Osaka in control of the contest after taking the first set, Ramos sent Williams into a rage when he handed the 23-times Grand Slam champion a code violation in the second game of the second set after he spotted the American’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou making hand signals from the player’s box.

A string of incidents followed as Williams went on to incur a point penalty for smashing her racket after Osaka broke her to get back on serve at 3-2.

Williams was then hit with a game penalty at 4-3 after she launched into a verbal attack against Ramos, accusing him of being “a liar” and “a thief for stealing a point from me”.

The game penalty put Osaka 5-3 up and the 20-year-old Japanese kept her cool to close out the win.

The chaotic finish filled with screaming, tears and jeers cast a cloud over what should have been Osaka’s shining moment.

Standing on the podium waiting to be handed her trophy and a winner’s cheque for $3.8 million, Osaka heard only boos as an angry crowd took out their frustration on Portuguese chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who stood to the side.

“I know everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this,” Osaka said. “It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals.”

Rarely do matches get to the point where a chair umpires hands out a game penalty.

The USTA said it was unaware if any other such sanctions were awarded during the US Open fortnight.

In a timeline the USTA detailed events of the women’s final and indicated Ramos was right to make the calls he did and on Sunday the ruling body fined Williams $17,000 for the three Code violations.

Mouratoglou later admitted he had been coaching but in another strange twist an unrepentant Williams continued to deny she had received any advice and was instead a victim of sexism.

When approached for comment from Ramos the USTA said it does not make umpires available to the media.

“He (Ramos) alleged that I was cheating, and I wasn’t cheating,” said Williams. “I’ve seen other men call other umpires several things. I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say ‘thief’ and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark.”

Almost lost in the chaos was a fearless and cool display from Osaka.

Before Williams’s collapse, Osaka had already put the 36-year-old under rarely seen pressure. Osaka had given Williams plenty of respect but no other concessions as she grabbed the early break on a double fault by her idol for a 2-1 first set lead she would not let go.

Playing on tennis’s biggest stage in her first Grand Slam final, the enormity of the moment did not faze Osaka while Williams, contesting her 31st major final, looked unsteady.

Williams’s implosion was not a totally unfamiliar sight for tennis fans, who watched a similar meltdown nine years earlier on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Playing a semi-final against Kim Clijsters, Williams flew into a rage after a line judge called her for a foot-fault on a second serve, leaving her match point down to the Belgian.

Williams launched into an expletive-laced rant at the official. She waved her racket in the lineswoman’s direction and shook a ball in her clenched fist as she threatened to “shove it down” her throat.

She was initially fined $10,500 for unsportsmanlike behaviour, the maximum allowed on site at a tournament, and was then slapped with an additional $164,500 fine and put on probation for two years by the Grand Slam Committee.

Williams could face further sanctions for her actions, the WTA issuing a statement to say it will be looking into the incident.

“There are matters that need to be looked into that took place during the match,” the WTA said. “For tonight, it is time to celebrate these two amazing players, both of whom have great integrity.”

Williams, however, received plenty of support from the tennis world including former American great Billie Jean King after whom the National Tennis Center is named and who has long fought for women’s equality in sport.

“When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalised for it,” King said on Twitter. “When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” and there are no repercussions.

“Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.”

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch

Wounding the social psyche

Friday, 19 April 2019

In this article, I intend to discuss the serious wounds inflicted on the psyche of Sri Lankan society, which have not received adequate attention, but need immediate cure, for they might develop into a dangerous cancer if not treated without further

What 5G could be to Game of Thrones (and vice versa)

Friday, 19 April 2019

We will be hearing a lot about these two seemingly unrelated topics this month. In a hurriedly but meticulously organised event, Dialog Axiata recently demonstrated 5G applications for the first time in South Asia. 5G will be commercially available

On time – Only for a week! A must-change!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

We are in April and the month where we witness the declaration of a new year as per our traditional practice. It is that period of time when a huge majority of our population, which certainly can be counted in millions, intends to act in unison and q

Columnists More