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U.S. Open Women’s Final Controversy

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Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

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   On Saturday, September 8th, Naomi Osaka, a professional Japanese tennis player, defeated her idol, Serena Williams, at the U.S. Open Women’s final in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Osaka played straight sets and ended up winning 6-2 and 6-4, earning her first Grand Slam title.

  At the start of the competition, the crowd roared as both players were announced on the court. As the match progressed, Osaka was in the lead by a set and served at 0-1, 40-15 in the second game. The chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, noticed that Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena’s coach, was gesturing from the player’s box. This resulted in Williams receiving a warning for a coaching violation.

  In return, the 23 time Grand Slam champion denied receiving coaching and started to argue with Ramos. Once Williams was back in the game, she lost two points. Despite losing, Serena Williams held serve and took the lead by 3-1. The crowd responded with loud cheers to William’s comeback.

  When Osaka broke Williams in the fifth game, Serena smashed her racket. Consequently, she received her second code violation for racket abuse and was penalized a point. Williams then proceeded to continue quarreling with Ramos. She remained persistent that she did not obtain coaching and demanded an apology from him for stealing her point.

  The audience started to boo afterwards and Ramos soon stopped his attempts at trying to settle the crowd. Despite all the noise, Osaka focused throughout the next two games, earning herself a score of 4-3. During an Ellen interview, Naomi Osaka remarked, “When [you are] little, [you are] taught not to look if your opponent gets angry or anything. [You are] told to just turn around and try to focus, so I tried to do that.”

  During the changeover, Ramos issued William’s third code violation for verbal abuse.

  According to New York Times, she exclaimed, “…you stole a point from me, [you are] a thief, too.”

  After Ramos explained the penalty, Serena Williams asked for a referee. While she was discussing with the tournament officials, Williams brought up the topic of sexism and how this was happening because she is a woman. Jason Jin, the girls’ tennis coach, remarked, “At the beginning of the game, I thought Serena Williams would have won due to her experience and it was Osaka’s first time so I thought she would have nerves. Although the penalties tremendously helped Naomi Osaka, I think she would have eventually won anyways.”

  The U.S. Open Women’s Final came to an end with Osaka’s leading score of 5-4, 40-30. Williams was unable to return the serve making Naomi Osaka, Japan’s first Grand Slam Champion. Ruchi Shetti (11), varsity tennis team player, said, “[The match] gave me more of an idea on how to treat our opponents and how keeping calm even in a losing situation is the best option.”

  During the trophy celebration, there were still an angry crowd unleashing loud boos causing the 20-year-old winner to cover her face with her visor and cry. Williams consoled Osaka by giving her a hug and imploring the crowd to stop booing and to praise Naomi for her achievement instead. This touching moment between the two players shows that at the end of the day whether you lost or won, it is important to have good sportsmanship and consider how your opponent is feeling.

 

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