Naomi Osaka beat Serena Williams to lift the US Open title. (Source: AP)
Naomi Osaka beat six-time champion Serena Williams to become the latest US Open champion at Flushing Meadows. The 6-2, 6-4 made her the fourth different women’s singles titles winner in the year and eighth different in the past two seasons – a first on WTA Tour in the Open Era. She also became the first Japanese player – male or female – to win a major title in tennis.
Born: October 16, 1997 in Osaka, Japan. Currently 20-years-old. Osaka was just a year old when Serena won her first title in New York in 1999.
Grand Slam titles (1): US Open 2018
# Won her first Grand Slam title after victory over 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.
# Becomes Japan’s first Grand Slam champion and only the second Asian to win a major after China’s Li Na. Compatriot Kei Nishikori came close to winning the same title in 2014, but was beaten by Marin Cilic in the final.
# Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka grew up idolising Serena Williams.
# Turned professional in 2013, aged 15, and moved to New York when she was three years old. Currently trains in Miami, Florida. She is coached by Sascha Bajin who worked with Serena for eight years. The German has also worked with the likes of Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.
# Made her first main-draw on the WTA tour at the 2014 Bank of the West Classic in Auckland. Osaka beat Sam Stosur in the first round before losing to Andrea Petkovic.
CAREER TO DATE
# Made her Grand Slam debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open in 2016, beating 18th seed Elina Svitolina in the second round but lost to former champion Victoria Azarenka in the next round.
# Cracked the top-100 for the first time in April 2016 (and the top 50 later in the year). Was named 2016 WTA “Newcomer of the Year” after making third-round appearances at three Grand Slams and reaching her first WTA final.
# Won her first WTA title in March 2018 in Indian Wells, beating Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep along the way.
# The following week, she beat Serena Williams in Miami.
# Reached her career best ranking of 17 in July 2018. She is currently ranked 19 in the women’s tour and will climb to No 7 when the rankings are updated on Monday. She will become the first Japanese woman ranked in the top-10 since Ai Sugiyama and highest ranked since Kimiko Date back in October 14, 1996.
(With inputs from Reuters)
with the Express Morning Briefing