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US Open Final: Osaka makes history amid extraordinary Serena umpire row

By Opta
Serena Williams - cropped

New York, September 9: Naomi Osaka claimed her maiden grand slam title in truly extraordinary circumstances at the US Open, as a furious Serena Williams became embroiled in a stunning row with umpire Carlos Ramos. The ice-cool Osaka triumphed 6-2, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows to become Japan's first grand slam singles champion, yet that immense achievement was overshadowed by sensational scenes of anger on the other side of the net.

I'm still not sure what happened with Serena in final - Osaka

Six-time US Open winner Williams, who remains one short of Margaret Court's record haul of 24 major singles titles, was initially disgusted after receiving a coaching violation from the umpire during the first set.

Williams was later handed a point penalty for smashing her racquet in set two and was then docked a game after continuing her protests at Ramos, seemingly calling the official a "thief".

To her immense credit, Osaka held her nerve among the chaos to claim victory, after Williams had remonstrated emotionally with the tournament referee, insisting she had been unfairly treated.

Serena shifts focus to Osaka after meltdown

Serena Williams refused to answer the usual presentation questions after the US Open final, but she called on the crowd to stop booing after Naomi Osaka's win.

The 23-time grand slam champion was given a coaching violation and a point penalty for smashing a racquet in the second set, while her remonstrations with umpire Carlos Ramos resulted in the 37-year-old being docked a game.

After a long wait in which both players showed their emotions, jeers greeted the start of the trophy presentation, with the American comforting Osaka.

And while Williams, seemingly still fuming with the officiating, would not entertain questions, she asked the crowd to congratulate the 20-year-old champion.

"I don't want to be rude, but I don't want to do questions," Williams said, fighting back the tears. "I just want to tell you guys: played well and this is her first grand slam.

"I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting, too, but let's make this the best moment we can and we'll get through it.

"Let's give everyone credit where credit's due. Let's not boo anymore. We're going to get through this. Let's be positive. Congratulations, Naomi. No more booing.

"Thank you to my team, thank you crowd, you're the best in the world. Thank you so much."

Clearly feeling let down by the way the final played out, Williams appeared to suggest it could affect her future participation at Flushing Meadows.

"I really hope to continue to go and play here again," she said, adding with a smile: "We'll see. It's been tough here for me but thank you so much."

Osaka apologises for beating Serena

Meanwhile, Osaka apologised for winning the US Open final. The 20-year-old's subsequent 6-2, 6-4 victory proved unpopular as the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium, who jeered the beginning of the trophy presentation, were angered by the treatment towards Williams.

And having been comforted by the American great, Osaka apologised to the fans and thanked Williams in an emotional speech.

Asked how she found playing against her childhood hero, Osaka replied: "I'm going to differ from your question, I'm sorry. I know that everyone was cheering for and I'm sorry it had to end like this. I want to say thank you for watching the match."

Turning to Williams, she added: "It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open final. I'm really glad I was able to do that. I'm really grateful I was able to play with you. Thank you."

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    Story first published: Sunday, September 9, 2018, 3:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Sep 9, 2018
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