Naomi Osaka wins 2021 Australian Open title, remain unbeaten in Slam finals

Naomi Osaka wins 2021 Australian Open title, remain unbeaten in Slam finals

Naomi Osaka improved to 4-0 in Grand Slam finals by grabbing six consecutive games to pull away from a crucial contest, beating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 at Melbourne Park on Saturday. For upcoming games to play, see some live football fixtures ahead at 12BET and reap those winnings!

With strong serving that produced six aces, Osaka is now the first woman to start her career that way since Monica Seles did it 30 years ago. For Osaka, that is part of a 12-0 record so far in the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals at the majors.

“You don’t go into a final wanting to be the runner-up. For me, I feel like every opportunity that I play a Slam is an opportunity to win a Slam,” said 23-year-old Osaka, who will move up to No. 2 in the WTA rankings. “So I think maybe I put that pressure on myself too much, but honestly, it’s working out in my favor right now.”

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25-year-old Brady, who played her first Slam final, said about Osaka after the match: “She plays so aggressive that she puts so much pressure on you to perform well, and that’s something that not every tennis player has that ability to do.”

Osaka is also on a 21-match winning streak that dates to last season and includes her championship at last year’s U.S. Open. She also won the U.S. Open in 2018, and the Australian Open in 2019.

“What I have learned on and off the court is it’s OK to not be sure about yourself. For me, I feel like I’ve always forced myself to, like, be ‘strong’ or whatever. I think if you’re not feeling OK, it’s OK to not feel OK,” Osaka said. “But you have to sort of go within yourself and figure things out in a way.”

Playing Osaka represented a big step up in competition during this tournament for Brady, who had not faced anyone ranked in the Top 25 or anyone else who previously appeared in so much as one Grand Slam semifinal.

Brady’s only previous final four appearance at a major came at the U.S. Open in September, when she lost to Osaka in three sets.

She wasn’t able to push the champ as much this time on an evening with a temperature being below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The attendance was announced at 7381, wherein spectators were allowed back after being barred earlier in the tournament during a COVID-19 lockdown.

“I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans,” Osaka said, “so just to have this energy, it really means a lot.”

The final turned at 4-all, when Brady used an on-the-run lob winner that she punctuated by waving her arms to request more noise from the crowd. That earned a breakpoint — convert that, and she would serve for the opening set.

But Osaka erased the chance with a cross-court forehand winner, and two errors by Brady made it 5-4. Osaka then broke to grab the set, helped by Brady’s double-fault and a netted forehand on a short ball to end it.

“Happens maybe one in 10 times,” Brady said of that mistake, “or hopefully less.”

That was part of the run that put Osaka ahead 4-0 in the second set and she was on her way.

Now only two active women own more major trophies: Serena Williams, with 23, and her sister, Venus, with seven.

Osaka beat Serena Williams — a player she calls her idol — in the semifinals Thursday.

And as much as Osaka makes plain that she wants to keep adding to her Grand Slam collection, there are larger goals, too.

“This is going to sound really odd, but hopefully I play long enough to play a girl that said that I was once her favorite player or something,” said Osaka, who signed autographs for fans after her victory. “For me, I think that’s the coolest thing that could ever happen to me. … That’s how the sport moves forward.”

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