Naomi Osaka beat Belarusian tennis player Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s U.S. Open final in New York to win her third Grand Slam title.
“First I want congratulate Vika,” The 22-year-old said after completing the match. “I actually don’t want to play you in any more finals. I didn’t really enjoy that. It was a really tough match for me.”
Osaka is the first woman in 26 years to win a U.S. Open final after losing the opening set. Even Lebron James sent a congrats to the young tennis star.
In the first set, Azarenka won 6-1. However, Osaka took the second and third sets both at 6-3, all while powering through her left hamstring injury.
Osaka humbly shared how the win against Azarenka was a full-circle moment for her.
“It’s really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger. So just to have the opportunity to play you is really great and I learned a lot, so thank you, ” Osaka said.
After the match a reporter asked Osaka about her decision to wear seven different masks bearing the names of high-profile victims of police violence.
“What was the message that you got?” she said. “The point is to make people start talking.”
“For me, I’ve been inside of the bubble so I’m not really sure what’s really going on in the outside world. All I can tell is what’s going on on social media and for me I feel like the more retweets it gets – that’s so lame but … the more people talk about it.”
The coronavirus pandemic caused this event, like many other professional sports, to be played without fans. However her boyfriend, rapper Cordae cheered her on from the stands, while wearing a “defund the police” t-shirt. He jumped up with excitement when she took the victory.
The game at Arthur Ashe Stadium was Osaka and Azarenka’s fourth matchup. They last met in the second round at the 2019 French Open, which Osaka won.
Two weeks prior, Osaka and Azarenka were scheduled to play in the Western & Southern Open final, but Osaka withdrew due to her injury.
The Women’s Tennis Association ranks Osaka No. 1 and she is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. She holds an undefeated 3-0 career record in the major finals.
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