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OSAKA REIGNS SUPREME

Posted By Jedd Zetzer  
21/02/2021
01:00 AM

Naomi Osaka has claimed her fourth grand slam title and her second at the Australian Open, defeating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the final on Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka will move up a spot in the WTA Rankings to world number two following her outstanding fortnight in Melbourne.

Osaka was the first to draw blood in the opening set of the final, breaking Brady in the first set for a 3-1 lead, but the American broke straight back. 

Both players held serve until 4-5. Brady was serving to stay in the set, led 40-15, and just like that in the blink of an eye, the set was gone. Three unforced errors and a double fault off Brady's racquet handed the first set to Osaka. 

From that point onwards, it was an uphill battle for the 22nd seed. 

Osaka blazed away to a 4-0 lead in the second set, before Brady attempted a miraculous comeback. She was able to break the Osaka serve, but it was too little, too late. A mountain too tall to climb for the American, with Osaka claiming the title in 77 minutes.

The title confirms that without doubt, Naomi Osaka is the best player on the planet at the present moment. She overcame one of the toughest grand slam draws, dropping just a single set en route to the title.

In the opening round, Osaka demolished Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-1, 6-2. This was arguably one of the toughest first round matchups - Pavlyuchenkova a quarterfinalist at all four majors, as well as a three time quarterfinalist in Melbourne.

It didn't get any easier after that - in the second round Osaka dispatched former world no.4 Caroline Garcia 6-2, 6-3 in what was her quickest win of the tournament. The match lasted just 61 minutes.

In the third round, Osaka came up against Tunisian Ons Jabeur - the 27th seed who made the quarterfinals in Melbourne last year. Osaka got through unscathed - another 6-3, 6-2 demolition.

The toughest customer Osaka came up against was Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round. Osaka managed to save two match points to claim a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory in what was arguably the match of the tournament. 

From that point onwards, Osaka blitzed the draw and got through her quarterfinal matchup with Hsieh Su-Wei 6-2, 6-2, followed by a routine 6-3, 6-4 victory over Serena Williams.

Osaka blitzed the toughest draw, relatively easily.

"For me, my feelings, I'm really happy right now. I think this is a moment that I have been working for during the entire preseason. You know, it's really weird when you get to that final point, you start trembling because you can think of the "what-ifs." So for me I feel like I'm living in a "what-if" right now," Osaka said. 

"Tonight I felt like was more of a mental battle. I think we were both nervous. Of course, I can't speak for her, but I was extremely nervous.

I honestly just told myself before the match, I'm probably not going to play well. I shouldn't put that pressure on myself to play perfectly but just go out there and fight for every point. You know, the outcome is whatever it wants to be, but I can live with the fact that I tried very hard," Osaka said.