Mon, 10 September 2018
Naomi Osaka who became Japan's first Grand Slam champion was booed by angry supporters leaving her teary eyed after she beat Serena Williams in the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 8, Saturday. Match umpire, Carlos Ramos, was called a “a thief” and “a liar” by Serena during some of the most dramatic scenes ever to unfold in a US Open final.
20-year old, Osaka was not a surprise finalist, having played heroically, dropping only one set in the entire tournament. Meanwhile, 36 year-old Williams was keen to bag her seventh singles title after dropping just three games on her way into the finals.
Osaka dominated the match throughout, and served several aces to win 6-2, 6-4. Williams, on the other hand struggled to keep up in a game dominated by controversy and chaos both on and off court. It all began with Williams being handed a code violation when the umpire spotted her coach Patrick Mouratoglou gesturing from the box. This was followed by a point penalty for her violent reaction of slamming her racket and breaking after an unforced error. A livid Williams then confronted umpire Ramos, demanding an apology from him for suggesting she had received coaching from the box. The crowd cheered her on and booed the umpire as the heated exchange continued during the changeover, with Williams calling the umpire “a cheat and a liar,” and warning how he would never umpire her match again. Ramos then issued the third code violation for verbal abuse, which resulted in a penalty of a lost game. From then on it was utter chaos with more angry exchanges as tournament referee, Brian Earley, and Grand Slam supervisor, Donna Kelso, stepped in to calm the situation. Williams screamed gender bias as the confused crowd grew increasingly agitated and restless. When the match finally resumed Osaka who was leading by 5-4, 40-30, drilled a serve out wide to win the match.
The drama continued as Williams congratulated Osaka, but refused to shake hands with Ramos. Osaka, who had said it was her childhood dream to play against her idol Serena in a Grand Slam final, was left in tears as an angry crowd, clearly supportive of Serena, jeered and booed during the awards ceremony. A glorious moment was lost in controversy as Osaka pulled her visor lower over her eyes to hide her tears. Williams then wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and asked her supporters to "give credit" to Osaka's victory. In a telling acceptance speech, a graceful Osaka said, “I know that everyone was cheering for her,” referring to Williams. “I’m sorry it had to end like this. I just want to say thank you for watching the match.”