Naomi Osaka Beats Jennifer Brady to Win Australian Open

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka Beats Jennifer Brady to Win Australian Open

Osaka, 23, has won every Grand Slam final she has reached.

Naomi Osaka Beats Jennifer Brady to Win Australian Open – The New York Times

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Naomi Osaka Beats Jennifer Brady at Australian Open for Her 4th Grand Slam Title

Osaka, 23, has won every Grand Slam final she has reached.

Naomi Osaka has a streak of 21 match victories.Credit…Alana Holmberg for The New York Times

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Feb. 20, 2021Updated 10:33 a.m. ET

MELBOURNE, Australia — The most uncomfortable moment for Naomi Osaka on Saturday night was not when she faced a key break point in the first set of her women’s singles final against Jennifer Brady. Nor was it when she was serving for the match in the second.

It came two hours after she closed out her 6-4, 6-3 victory at Rod Laver Arena. At the start of her news conference, Craig Tiley, the head of Tennis Australia, handed Osaka a flute of champagne and proposed a toast to and fourth Grand Slam title.

Osaka, 23, brought the glass to her lips and tentatively took a sip, trying unsuccessfully to keep her expression neutral. She has never developed a taste for alcohol, she had explained earlier in the tournament, because she was told as a child that it was bad for her.

“Like it’s ruining your body or your liver,” she said. “I just want to give myself an advantage for as long as I can.”

on her way to nine total championships and Roger Federer on his way to 20.

“That’s very amazing company,” said Osaka, who held her childhood idol, the 23-time Grand Slam champion , to the same number of games, seven, mustered by Brady, a 25-year-old in her first major final.

She added, “You can only just keeping going down your own path.”

Osaka, who this past September, is halfway to a Naomi Slam. She is unbeaten in her past 21 matches. Her most recent loss in an individual competition came in the third round of this tournament last year when she was upset by the United States teenager Coco Gauff, a defeat that weighed on Osaka’s mind before she took the court against Brady who was the decided underdog like Gauff had been.

“I have been in the position that she is in to go into the first Slam,” Osaka said, referring to Brady. “Of course I know the nerves that come with that. But then I was thinking on the other side, for me, I wonder if I’m expected to do better because I have been in Slam finals before. So there was actually a lot of nerves with that.”

until she had opened a sliver of daylight at 30-40.

, called it a privilege to be able to play a major tournament given the coronavirus pandemic. “I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans, so just to have this energy it really means a lot,” she said, referring to her three-set victory over Victoria Azarenka in New York.

, Brady became the first woman with collegiate experience in this tournament’s final since 1983. She was trying to become the first to win the title since Barbara Jordan of Stanford did so in 1979.

Brady, who was outside the top 50 at the start of 2020, entered the tournament ranked 24th in the world, and after her run at Melbourne Park, she will vault to No. 13.

, where she beat Serena Williams in straight sets in the final. Osaka said the one of her goals this season is to expand her success to other surfaces, starting with clay since the French Open is the next scheduled Grand Slam.

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