Ripples of the U.S. Open’s women finals
As her triumph heralded the advent of a new generation in the women’s game, the ripples of the controversial match continue to dominate the world of tennis.
It has pitched the sport’s governing body, International Tennis Federation against the Women’s Tennis Association over alleged gender discrimination by on-court officials.
Serena served to open the match and lost the first point.
As players are superstitious about the first point, was that an omen of the outcome of the match?
Although she recovered and won the game, the seed was planted for the controversial conclusion of the contest.
Osaka leveled and broke Serena to win the third game. Serena lost the next four games and struggled hard to hold and reduce tally to 2-5.
Serving for the set, Osaka had a game point at 40-15 and delivered a serve timed at 188Kmph to close the set after 34 minutes.
In the second set, Osaka faced break point at 30-40 while trailing 1-2 but she deuced.
After a trade of advantages, Serena got the break on her third opportunity.
However, she lost the fifth game on her serve. Osaka won the sixth game at love and broke Serena to lead 4-3.
In the eighth game, Serena lost the first point and hit her racket against the court in frustration. She then received a second code violation.
In reaction, she unleashed a verbal assault on the Chair Umpire Carlos Ramos; ignoring that it was a third violation.
The Tournament Referee came on court and, after consulting with the Umpire, confirmed the penalty of Serena losing the eighth game.
After all the ranting, Serena won her serve to reduce the tally 4-5.
Serving for the match, Osaka had three match points at 40-15, lost one but clinched the game, set and match with a service winner.
The controversy that erupted during the contest could not becloud the sterling performance of the new champion who seemed fated to win.
Here was a young lady who started playing tennis inspired by watching Serena Williams on television far away in Japan.
She said her main goal at first was to beat her senior sister Mari.
Then she nursed the dream of one day playing against her idol Serena in a Grand Slam match.
In fulfillment of her dream, she got a bonus of playing against her in the finals.
The partisan crowd wanted Serena to win a historic 24th Major title but they witnessed a different event of history.
Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam title.
Despite Serena’s denial of the weight of the goal, the scenes that constituted the final match inevitably generated the question: Did Serena succumb to pressure?
She could have reacted differently to the alleged coaching violation, after the genial discussion with the umpire.
Instead, she let it brew within her to the point of demanding an apology and later abusing the Chair Umpire.