The women’s singles final at the Australian Open featured “the most relatable high-octane servers with hammering groundstrokes that you would ever want to meet (just not on the court),” as The New York Times put it.
The winner was Naomi Osaka, who needed just two sets to defeat Jennifer Brady on Saturday in Melbourne to capture her fourth Grand Slam title. Osaka also became only the third player to win their first four major finals.
Two days earlier she beat her childhood idol Serena Williams in similar straight-sets fashion. And in true Naomi style, she wondered if a decision to switch from Japanese to Greek food the day before the match may have sealed that victory.
Japan’s celebrations over Osaka’s fourth Grand Slam went into orbit, with astronaut Soichi Noguchi tweeting congratulations from the International Space Station. Domestic media said it brought prospects of a gold medal at the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics “a big step closer.”
Osaka’s polished campaign in Melbourne will reinforce the belief that she has taken over as the new queen of tennis, AFP-Jiji reports. Next goal: Becoming as dominant on clay and grass as she is on hardcourts. Her coach believes she can do it.
Meanwhile, in the women’s wheelchair singles final, world No. 2 Yui Kamiji lost her Australian Open title defense Wednesday in a three-set thriller against world No. 1 Diede De Groot. And men’s wheelchair No. 1 Shingo Kunieda’s bid for an 11th Aussie Open title ended two days earlier with a straight-sets loss against Briton Alfie Hewitt in the semifinals.