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Osaka wins second US Open title with stunning turnaround vs Azarenka

Naomi Osaka is the 2020 US Open champion! The Japanese star comes back from a set and 2-0 down to deny Victoria Azarenka in three sets and win her third Grand Slam title.

Naomi Osaka, 2020 US Open champion Naomi Osaka, 2020 US Open champion
  • US Open women’s singles final

  • Osaka d Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3

  • Key info: Azarenka had a point to lead 3-0 in the second set before Osaka fought back.
  • You will also learn: Osaka’s US Open and Grand Slam resumes are already impressive at 22 years old
  • Why read this story: It was a roller-coaster final that left Osaka back at the top of the sport

Naomi Osaka is the US Open champion for the second time in three years after she produced an incredible fightback from a set and 2-0 down to beat former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final at Flushing Meadows on Saturday.

The 2018 winner looked down and out when Azarenka, who beat 23-time Grand Slam champion in the semi-finals, had a point to lead 3-0 in the second. But Osaka held serve and then stormed back to clinch a brilliant victory, staving off a late rally from the two-time major champion in the decider.

Azarenka rolls in the first

In her first Grand Slam final since 2013, the unseeded Azarenka blitzed her way through the first set with an incredible display of hitting. The Belarusian committed only three unforced errors in the opener, whereas Osaka struck twice as many errors (10) as winners (five).

Victoria Azarenka, 2020 US Open Final

Down but not out

With momentum in had, Azarenka appeared to be on her way to a surprising straight-set victory. The world No 27 seized a 2-0 lead and even had a game point to hold for 3-0. Osaka, however, was not about to go away without a fight.

“I thought it would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour, so I had to fight and stop having a bad attitude.”

The fourth seed stayed calm and managed to break in the third game of the second set to get back on serve at 1-2. From there Osaka never relinquished momentum. She broke again — this time at love — for 4-3 before adding another scalp of the Azarenka serve at 5-3 to clinch the set.

Naomi Osaka

Osaka surges to the title

Although the third set was not entirely straightforward for Osaka, she never let her opponent have the upper hand. Osaka broke for a 3-1 advantage and consolidated it to 4-1 by digging out of a 0-40 hole. She had two chances to break for 5-1 and despite Azarenka holding and then breaking back for 4-3, Osaka refused to fold mentally like she admittedly did in the first. The world No 9 answered right back with another break of her own for 5-3 before serving out the match in impressive fashion.

“In the beginning of the second set, she started to play better,” Azarenka assessed. “(She) caught a few lines, had some really good shots. She was being really aggressive. I don’t know if there was just one momentum shift. I felt there were a few moments that were shifting…. I didn’t kind of convert my chances, but I felt like I was kind of changing the momentum [and] didn’t really finish it.

“I’m not disappointed. I’m not necessarily disappointed. It’s just painful; it’s painful to lose. That is what it is. It was close; I was close. But it didn’t go my way. Am I going to think about it too long? Not at all. I said it: ‘I win or I lose, I’m not going to change. I’m not going to sit here and be miserable.’ This was an experience that was just an experience that didn’t go my way. I had a great two weeks. I enjoyed myself. I did everything I could today. Could I have played better? I think I could. But I left everything I could on the court today. She won the match. All the credit to Naomi; she’s a champion.”

Now a three-time major winner, Osaka previously triumphed at the US Open in 2018 — beating Serena Williams in a controversial final. She also won the very next slam, the Australian Open in January of 2019.

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