New York (AP) – Former world number one Naomi Osaka won the US Open for the second time since 2018 and celebrated her third Grand Slam title.
The 23-year-old tennis player from Japan won the final in New York against eight-year-old Victoria Asarenka from Belarus with 1: 6, 6: 3, 6: 3. “It was a tough game for me. At one point I thought that it would be embarrassing if I lost within an hour, “Osaka said during the awards ceremony after lying on her back immediately after the match point.
For Osaka, it was the third title in one of the four most important tournaments after the US Open 2018 and the Australian Open 2019. Asarenka had won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and was in a Grand Slam final for the first time in seven years.
“I will try again. I hope we play more finals against each other,” said Asarenka. Alexander Zverev, born in Hamburg, and Dominic Thiem from Austria will compete in the men’s final on Sunday (10 p.m. CEST / Eurosport).
Two days after her three-set success against 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner Serena Williams, it was Asarenka who initially dominated the game at the virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, no spectators were allowed into Flushing Meadows during the 14-day tournament and the pros were bound by strict safety and hygiene requirements.
In her fifth Grand Slam final, Asarenka coped much better with the unusual circumstances than her opponent Osaka, who wore a mouth and nose mask against police brutality and racism for her seventh appearance at the US Open this year. USA protested. This time the name Tamir Rice was on her mask. The then 12-year-old was shot dead in 2014 by a police officer in Cleveland, USA. The boy had been playing with a toy gun in a parking lot and was shot shortly after a patrol car arrived.
Two weeks ago, the final of the Masters tournament, which was moved from Cincinnati to New York, was canceled because Osaka was unable to play against Asarenka due to an injury. Just like in previous matches, Osaka put a thick bandage on the left thigh in the final. In just 26 minutes she made the first sentence. Asarenka had lost the US Open final twice: in 2012 and 2013 against Serena Williams. After the birth of her son Leo in December 2016 and a few injuries, she was about to end her career. But Asarenka fought back, she is now back at number 27 of the world rankings.
Osaka did not make it to the first level. She got three breaks in the first round. She made 13 small mistakes, only got 5 wins – against a near-perfect opponent. In the second half, Osaka also fell 2-0, but then they put away the obvious nervousness and moved much better now.
With a significant performance boost, she managed to offset penalties. For the first time since 2016, when Angelique Kerber from Kiel beat Karolina Pliskova from the Czech Republic, a women’s final of the US Open went to a third set. Osaka played consistently, using their second match point to win at 1:53 PM.