Japan's Osaka wins Australian OpenSunday, February 21, 2021
MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) — Japan's Naomi Osaka dismissed Jennifer Brady in straight sets to win the Australian Open and underline her growing hold on women's tennis yesterday.
Osaka edged a tight first set but controlled the second to win 6-4, 6-3 in 77 minutes in front of 7,381 fans at Rod Laver Arena.
Third seed Osaka preserves her 100 per cent record in Grand Slam finals after winning the 2018 and 2020 US Opens and the 2019 title in Melbourne.
The reigning US Open champion, who beat her idol Serena Williams in the Melbourne semi-finals, has now won two of the last three Grand Slams as her status and reputation soars.
Osaka, 23, is only the third player after Monica Seles and Roger Federer to win their first four major finals, and will now rise to second in the world rankings.
She saved two match points in the fourth round against Garbine Muguruza and swept past Williams in straight sets in the semis.
Yesterday, Osaka wore down fellow big-hitter Brady, and then lifted her racquet above her head in celebration of her win as the crowd roared.
After sealing back-to-back Slam titles twice, Osaka has won half the majors she's contested since beating Williams to win her first in 2018.
The Japanese survived a seesaw start to gain control, reeling off six straight games en route to the title.
It was a rematch of last year's epic US Open semi-final, described by some as the best match of 2020, but Osaka triumphed far more comfortably on this occasion.
Before the match, Osaka had pinpointed her return as the key, but she was helped out by a shaky Brady who lost her serve in the fourth game after two double faults.
But Brady, the 22nd seed, hit back with a break and she continued to pile pressure on Osaka's serve.
A brilliant lob winner, showcasing her trademark athleticism, gave a pumped-up Brady a break point in the ninth game, but Osaka held on.
Despite the defeat, Brady will rise to a career-high 13th in the WTA rankings.
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