Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam title Saturday, beating Serena Williams in a controversial US Open final that saw the American docked a game after calling the umpire a “thief.”
Osaka prevailed against her idol 6-2, 6-4 in New York to deny Williams a record 24th major — and first as a mom — and become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
The 20-year-old indeed made history for Japan but the final will be remembered as much — if not more — for Williams clashing with chair umpire Carlos Ramos in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Ramos first gave Williams, 36, a code violation warning for coaching in the second game of the second set — he ruled that coach Patrick Mouratoglou gave her hand signals from the stands. Williams duly approached the net and told Ramos: “I don’t cheat. I’d rather lose. Every time I play here I have problems.”
Williams may have been referring to the US Open in 2009, when she received a point penalty against Kim Clijsters in the semifinals — deemed to have verbally abused a linesperson — and was called for hindrance for yelling during a point in the 2011 final against Sam Stosur.