Naomi Osaka is the undisputed queen of women’s tennis.
The Japanese star was unstoppable as she won her fourth grand slam title by beating Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3 in the Australian Open final on Saturday night.
Osaka, who progressed to the final after blowing Serena Williams away in the semis, was too classy and composed for Brady, who tasted defeat in the first major decider of her career.
The American has enjoyed a rapid rise in the past 12 months, making the US Open semi-finals last year and the final at Melbourne Park, but she’ll have to wait a little while longer for another chance at lifting some silverware at one of tennis’ four most prestigious tournaments.
Brady paid tribute to an “inspirational” Osaka in the post-match presentation while the winner also heaped praise on her opponent — but started off by savagely trolling her rival.
Osaka turned and asked Brady whether she preferred to be called Jennifer or Jenny. Brady said she preferred Jenny, so Osaka landed a final insult.
“Firstly, I want to congratulate Jennifer …” she said.
It didn’t no unnoticed by the internet.
Naomi Osaka mid-speech: "Do you like to be called Jenny or Jennifer?"
Jennifer Brady: "Jenny"
Naomi Osaka: "Firstly, I want to congratulate Jennifer…"
Osaka, who beat Brady in last year’s US Open semi-finals, congratulated the 25-year-old on going a step further and predicted many more clashes in the future.
“I told everyone who would listen that you’re going to be a problem, and I was right,” she said.
“I think we’re going to play a lot more matches, so here’s to that.”
Osaka also thanked her team and showed she has more perspective than some of her colleagues who complained about hotel quarantine, issuing a message about being able to play in the midst of a global pandemic, adding: “Playing a grand slam right now is a super privilege and it’s something I won’t take for granted.”
Osaka wasn’t at her absolute best in the first set, but she doesn’t need to be to beat most players. She benefited from Brady’s nerves as the world No. 24 struggled to land her first serves and made unforced errors at key moments that robbed her of the chance to land any killer blows.
The new world No. 2 targeted Brady’s backhand all night, knowing the forehand was a major weapon. But too often the debut grand slam finalist also made mistakes on her preferred wing, all but shutting down her hopes of victory.
Osaka knows what it takes to win on the big stage and by the time she’d raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set, the Japanese star had well and truly found her groove. The trademark power was in full swing as her ground strokes packed a punch that Brady couldn’t withstand.
Brady broke back then held comfortably for 2-4, but there was to be no miracle comeback as Osaka maintained her poker face and iced the match.
Osaka has now won all four major finals she’s appeared in — adding a second Australian Open crown to go with her two US Open titles.
The 23-year-old is also the first woman since Monica Seles in 1990-91 to emerge victorious from her first four grand slam finals.
It was all one-way traffic.Source:AFP
Brady had no answers.Source:AFP
Osaka blitzed through her opening service game to love in the first set and Brady was on track to do something similar, racing to a 40-0 lead on her own racquet.
But she stumbled and was forced into a couple of deuces, before holding her nerve and getting on the board for 1-1.
Osaka held easily again but Brady dropped to 0-40 in her next service game and a double fault — her third in two games — handed her opponent an easy break.
Osaka double faulted herself at deuce in the next game, then clunked a backhand halfway up the net to gift Brady a break of her own. The American was far more assured in her next service game and held confidently for 3-3.
But Brady was failing to land her first serves — normally a huge weapon — and the frustration was getting to her. She yelled out in anger, while the 25-year-old also struggled with the breeze on court, having to redo her ball toss multiple times.
Things stayed on serve at 4-5 before Brady choked badly — hitting a double fault, a forehand long past the baseline and another forehand into the net all in a row — as Osaka broke again to win the opening set 6-4.
The floodgates opened as Osaka won her sixth game in a row to take a 4-0 lead in the second set before Brady finally showed some fight. The former college star got a break back but it was too little, too late.
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