Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Saturday came from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to win the US Open and clinch her third Grand Slam title.
Osaka, the fourth seed, overcame her unseeded opponent 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 inside a near-empty Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows in New York City to win US$3 million in prize money.
It brought 22-year-old Osaka’s haul of tennis major trophies to three after her victories at the 2018 US Open and last year’s Australian Open.
Photo: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA Today
“I didn’t really enjoy that. It was a really tough match for me,” Osaka said following her one hour, 53 minute victory.
Azarenka, 31, sprinted to the first set in just 26 minutes, dominating Osaka with an 88 percent success rate on her first serve.
The Japanese was uncharacteristically sloppy, hitting a whopping 13 unforced errors.
Azarenka then went 2-0 ahead in the second set, before Osaka fought back to break her opponent’s serve twice and take a 4-3 lead.
The momentum had quickly swung in Osaka’s favor and she broke a third time to push the match to a deciding set.
“I just thought it would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour so I just have to try as hard as I can and stop having a really bad attitude,” said Osaka, explaining the turnaround.
Osaka enjoyed the first breakthrough of set three in game four when she broke Azarenka’s serve to take a 3-1 lead.
Azarenka then blew a golden opportunity to get back into the match, wasting three break points as Osaka recovered from 0-40 to hold for a 4-1 lead.
Azarenka saved four break points to make it 4-2 as she battled to keep the contest alive.
When she broke Osaka in game seven, the set was back on serve, but Osaka immediately broke back after Azarenka pushed a forehand wide to leave herself the opportunity of serving for the match and title.
On Osaka’s second championship point, Azarenka found the net.
Osaka rises to third in the WTA rankings and becomes the first Asian player to win three Grand Slams, overtaking China’s Li Na on two.
Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, was playing in her first major final since losing the 2013 US Open to Serena Williams.
The last few years of the former world number one’s career have been disrupted, firstly by injury then by a custody battle over her son, but she enjoyed a fairytale run in New York, clinching the Western & Southern Open title before reaching the US Open final, where she lost for the third time.
“I want to thank my team for sticking with me, for believing in me,” Azarenka said. “It’s been a long road of getting here, but this was fun.”
FIRING BLANKS: West Brom and Burnley had conceded a combined 21 goals in their seven games, but the 47th match of the season was the first to end goalless Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday climbed to sixth place in the English Premier League as Raul Jimenez sealed a 1-0 win at Leeds United on a night West Bromwich Albion and Burnley played out the first goalless draw in the division this season. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves clinched their third league win of the campaign when Jimenez’s second-half strike deflected in off Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips. The Mexico striker’s third goal of the season made it back-to-back wins for Wolves after they beat Fulham before the international break. “It was a good performance with some aspects to improve. We were better in the second
China wants to unite its 1.4 billion people through soccer, while also using the sport as “a bridge to work with the rest of the world,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told reporters in an interview published yesterday. Liu spoke about what lies behind the country’s push to become a major soccer power by 2050. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is described by state media as an “avid soccer fan” — the world’s most populous country has grand plans to host and even one day win a World Cup. Liu spoke about “using football to motivate the whole nation.” “Football is
Maybe Kyler Murray will lose a game on the home field of the Dallas Cowboys one of these days. It was not going to be on Monday, when the Arizona quarterback watched the star running back of his hometown team have another night of “fumble-itis.” Murray accounted for three touchdowns in his first game back home as a professional and Ezekiel Elliott set up the visiting team’s first two touchdowns with fumbles as the Cardinals beat the Dallas Cowboys 38-10. The speedy quarterback, who won three high-school championships and a Big 12 title at the home of the Cowboys, improved to 7-0 as
Patrick Mahomes on Monday did not mind taking a back seat to rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Kansas City Chiefs’ running attack. With the Buffalo Bills working hard to limit deep throws by Mahomes, he gladly kept handing off the ball as Kansas City beat Buffalo 26-17 in a game originally scheduled for Thursday last week. “You know my nature, I want to throw it deep every time. We want to go down and throw these long touchdowns, but if teams are going to play us like this, we’ve got to show we can run the football,” Mahomes said. Mission accomplished. Led by Edwards-Helaire’s