It was a performance that belied her years but after a dismal first set loss and a bad start to the second set, 22-year-old Naomi Osaka rallied to beat third-time finalist, Victoria Azarenka, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. It was her second US Open title in three years.
Azarenka had powered through the tournament and after beating Serena Williams in the semi-final, it looked like the time had come to claim a first title at Flushing Meadows but Osaka proved a bridge too far.
Speaking after the contest, the 31-year-old mother of one said, said: “I thought the third time was a charm but I guess I’ll have to try again.”
For Osaka, she is gradually showing up as the most consistent performer from the generation of players hoping to take over from the Williams‘sisters and Azarenka.
Osaka won $3 million for her two-week endeavour in New York and showed her advocacy for the Black Lives Matter campaign by wearing face masks bearing the names of black people killed by the police in the United States.
Asked at the presentation ceremony, why she had gone that route, she said, “Well what was the message that you got? I feel like the point is to make people start talking.”
She can be rest assured that people are talking about her, especially after annexing a third Grand Slam title at the age of 22.