Without forcing, Naomi Osaka imposes her superiority

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Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open on Saturday by clearly dominating the American Jennifer Brady (6-4 6-3), in a rather disappointing final. This is the fourth major title in just over three years for the Japanese, already titled at the US Open (2018 and 2020) and here in Melbourne (2019).

Unbeaten in four finals, Naomi Osaka is increasingly establishing herself as the dominant player of her generation and the most able to establish a lasting hegemony in women’s tennis, where the winners and finalists have multiplied since the decline of Serena Williams (which can be dated from her maternity leave, after the Australian Open 2017).

Brady betrayed by his nerves

No more than the others, Jennifer Brady could not seriously contest the victory in Osaka. For her first participation in a grand slam final, the American was betrayed by her nerves (31 unforced errors). Despite her progress and her application (here she is now 13th player in the world), she does not have the talent of the best.

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Long balanced, more by an equal number of errors on both sides of the net than by the fierce tussle that one might expect, the game fell to 5-4 Osaka 40-A on Brady’s serve. The American was initially surprised to see her excellent offense come back to her and, with some success, bounce off the baseline. On the next point, which had become a set point to save, her nerves betrayed her as she executed an easy forehand that she sent into the net.

From then on, Osaka relaxed, served a little better, made a break on his first return game and easily kept his lead until match point, a point again without much emotion. The Japanese, who had already been expeditious in the semifinals against Serena Williams, was finally in difficulty only in the quarterfinals, where she had to save two match points before overcoming the Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza. Without demerit, Jennifer Brady had a much easier course, not facing in her part of the table any player of the Top 20.

Not far from Martina Hingis

“It was my first final, it is not easy to be in front of a player like Naomi, but I hope that I will have other chances in the future”, declared Jennifer Brady, little more inspired during speeches. This required passage showed by contrast how much Naomi Osaka is at ease in this role of public figure in sight. “When I won the US Open a few months ago, the stadium was empty. I am happy and grateful that you opened your door and your hearts to us ”, she launched to the attention of the public, returned since Thursday to the Rod Laver Arena after five days of closed health.

With four major titles won in the last eight tournaments, Naomi Osaka joins a player on the charts like Kim Clijsters and gets closer to Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis (5 titles). Although she will only be second Monday in the WTA rankings, still dominated by Australian Ashleigh Barty, she is now the undisputed figurehead, on and off the courts. At only 23 years old.

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