Mon, Sep 10, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Japan hails Osaka’s US Open victory

GRANDPARENTS APPROVE:Tetsuo Osaka said he wept while watching his granddaughter on TV and hoped her form continues and brings gold at the Tokyo Olympics

AFP, TOKYO

Naomi Osaka hoists aloft the winner’s trophy after defeating Serena Williams in the women’s singles final at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Japan yesterday Naomi Osaka’s stunning upset against Serena Williams to win the US Open, giving the nation some rare good news after a summer of deadly natural disasters.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the praise, taking to Twitter to congratulate Osaka after her 6-2, 6-4 win in New York.

“Congratulations on your victory at the US Open. The first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title. Thank you for giving energy and inspiration to the whole of Japan,” Abe wrote.

Abe was on his way to the northern island of Hokkaido, where a massive earthquake last week sparked landslides that buried houses in a rural town, killing at least 37 people and injuring hundreds of others.

Osaka’s grandfather Tetsuo Osaka, 73, lives in Hokkaido and said he wept watching his granddaughter on television.

“It still hasn’t sunk in for me yet. The moment she won, my wife and I rejoiced together. I was so happy, I cried,” he told public broadcaster NHK.

“I hope she stays healthy and continues her good work. I also hope she wins at the Tokyo Olympics” in 2020, he said.

Fellow Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori flooded Twitter with emojis of trophies, thumbs up and Japanese flags, followed by a simple tweet of “proud” alongside a Japanese flag.

Tsuyoshi Fukui, a former top Japanese player and now senior official at the Japanese Tennis Association, said Osaka’s performance would help to cheer the country up after typhoons, floods and earthquakes dominated the headlines this summer.

Osaka’s “tenacious and patient performance ... must have been a great show of encouragement to those Japanese people who saw damage from such things as typhoons and earthquakes,” Fukui told Japanese media.

Meanwhile, NHK took a break from its round-the-clock coverage of the disaster to turn to happier news.

“Osaka wins women’s US Open, becomes first Japanese to win Grand Slam,” was the broadcaster’s top headline.

Sports Nippon said Osaka had achieved a “complete victory” against an “irritated Serena who broke her racket.”

The Asahi Shimbun said on Twitter it would be printing an extra edition and distributing it in Tokyo.

The final will probably be remembered for a meltdown from Williams who called the chair umpire a “thief” as much as for the 20-year-old’s historic win.

Williams’s tantrum overshadowed an outstanding performance from Osaka, who made her second career title a Grand Slam after winning her first at Indian Wells in March.

Osaka has dual Japanese-American citizenship and often replies to questions from Japan’s media in English, apologizing for not knowing the appropriate word when she speaks Japanese.

After earning US$3.8 million for the victory, Osaka said her next goal was a simple one: win her next tournament in Tokyo.

Asked if she was prepared for the reception she would receive as the nation’s first Grand Slam winner, Osaka said: “Apparently not, because people keep asking me that.”

In other matches, Taiwanese players exited at the semi-finals stage.

Wimbledon winner and No. 1-ranked Tseng Chun-hsin was defeated 6-2, 6-4 by Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the boys’ singles on Saturday. Wild was to play Lorenzo Musetti in the final.

In the girls’ doubles, Joanna Garland of Taiwan and Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima lost 6-2, 6-2 to US pair Caty McNally and Cori Gauff.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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