Serena Williams’ dream of a magical seventh US Open title was up in flames early Sunday morning as she was beaten in a controversial final by Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4.
Williams was docked points for receiving coaching from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou and for smashing her racquet.
The American tennis star was also penalised for verbal abuse in her argument with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
All that and the calmness of Osaka worked in her favour as she became the first player representing Japan to win a major singles title.
After Osaka rolled to win the first set – winning five straight games – Williams moved to a 3-1 lead. She immediately lost her serve the next game, smashing her racquet in frustration that earned her the second violation and a point penalty to start the next game.
With Osaka leading by a service break, after breaking Williams for a 4-3 lead, Osaka was given a game penalty on the changeover after Williams called Ramos “a thief” and demanded an apology for being labeled a cheat.
Sad Williams when presented with questions from ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi in the on-court ceremony said, “I don’t want to be rude, but I don’t want to interrupt. I don’t want to do questions. I just want to tell you guys, [Osaka] played well. This is her first Grand Slam. I know you guys were here rooting and I was rooting too, but let’s make this the best moment we can and we’ll get through it. But let’s give everyone the credit where credit is due and let’s not boo anymore. We’re going to get through this and let’s be positive. Congratulations Naomi. No more booing.”
On her part, 20-year Osaka said, “It was always my dream to play Serena in the U.S. Open finals, so I’m really glad I was able to do that.”
Williams was seeking her 24th major singles title that would have tied her for the all-time lead owned by Margaret Court.
Williams was also seeking her seventh U.S. Open title, which would have been the most ever and would have broken the tie that she currently shares with Chris Evert.
Williams was also looking to join a select group of seven mothers in the history of the sport to win majors.