Naomi Osaka is hogging the headlines for all the right reasons in her native land after she became the first Japanese player to reach a Grand Slam singles final. She’s also helping break new ground in Japan due to her multiracial identity: the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother.
Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam title on Saturday as her idol Serena Williams angrily imploded, calling the chair umpire in the US Open final “a thief”.
Osaka, 20, triumphed 6-2, 6-4 in the match marred by Williams’s second set outburst, the American enraged by umpire Carlos Ramos’s warning for receiving coaching from her box.
She tearfully accused him of being a “thief” and angrily demanded an apology from the official.
When a second code violation for racquet abuse was handed out to her – along with a point penalty – Williams exploded.
“You’re attacking my character,” she said. “You will never, ever be on another court of mine. You are the liar,” she fumed and Ramos handed her a game penalty that put Osaka one game from victory at 5-3 in the second set.
Williams won the next game, and continued her tearful remonstrations with a supervisor on the change-over but Osaka – who displayed remarkable poise throughout – held serve to seal a historic win for her.