Japan’s Naomi Osaka yesterday dismissed Jennifer Brady in straight sets to win the Australian Open in dominant style for her fourth Grand Slam title.
Osaka edged a tight first set, but controlled the second to win 6-4, 6-3 in 77 minutes in front of thousands of fans at the Rod Laver Arena.
Third seed Osaka preserves her 100 percent record in Grand Slam finals after winning the US Open in 2018 and last year, and the 2019 title in Melbourne.
“We played in the semis of the US Open a couple of months ago and I told everyone that you’re going to be a problem,” Osaka told Brady at the trophy presentation. “And I was right. It’s really incredible to me to see your growth over the past few months, it’s really cool for me to see.”
The 23-year-old, who becomes only the third player after Monica Seles and Roger Federer to win their first four major finals, is to rise to second in the world rankings.
Osaka, rated as the world’s top-earning female athlete, wore down fellow big-hitter Brady with consistency and lifted her racket above her face in a muted celebration of her win as the crowd roared.
The sweeping win confirms Osaka’s status as tennis’ leading light, having brushed aside Serena Williams in straight sets in the semi-finals.
She has won half of the majors she has contested since beating Williams to win her first Slam title.
Osaka has now claimed back-to-back Slams twice.
She survived a seesaw start to gain control, reeling off six straight games en route to the title.
It was a rematch of last year’s epic US Open semi-final, dubbed by some as the best match of the year, but Osaka triumphed far more comfortably on this occasion.
She showed no nerves at the start, firing down two aces en route to a love hold in the opening game.
Before the match, Osaka had pinpointed her return as the key, but she was helped out by a shaky Brady, who lost her serve in the fourth game after two double faults.
The American 22nd seed hit back with a break and continued to pile pressure on Osaka’s serve. A brilliant lob winner, showcasing her trademark athleticism, gave a pumped-up Brady a break point in the ninth game, but Osaka held on.
Brady then played a sloppy game on serve to hand over the set to Osaka, who had a 20-0 record at Melbourne Park when winning the first set.
Osaka gained a stranglehold with an early break in the second set and fired down an ace to skip out to a 3-0 lead, followed by a roar of “C’mon.” Brady attempted a late rally, but a calm Osaka was not to be denied.
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