Japan’s Naomi Osaka has beaten Serena Williams in a controversial US Open women’s singles final 6-2, 6-4 after Williams was penalised a game for a third court violation.
Osaka, 20, became the first Japanese player to win a grand slam title and was in complete control over her more illustrious rival in a dominant first set.
However in the second set, Williams received three code violations and was docked an entire game, handing Osaka a chance to serve out the game.
The world No.19 was in tears during the presentation ceremony, pulling her visor over her face as boos rained down from the parochial home crowd in New York.
“I know everyone was cheering for her and I am sorry it had to end like this,” Osaka said.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open final, so I am really glad I was able to do that. I am really grateful I could play with you. Thank you.”
Williams pleaded with a hostile crowd to cease booing.
“I don’t want to be rude but I don’t want to do questions. Naomi played well. This is her first grand slam,” Williams said.
“Let’s not boo anymore. Congratulations Naomi! No more booing! Thank you to my team. You guys are amazing.”
"You owe me an apology!"
Serena was fired up with the official in the final set of the US Open final. pic.twitter.com/r6RSbrirnV
— ESPN (@espn) September 8, 2018
Serena’s implosion in the second set came after the first game in which chair umpire Carlos Ramos handed Williams a code violation for “coaching” from her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
The first violation carries a warning, the second a point penalty, the third carries a game penalty.
Mouratoglou admitted to ESPN that he was coaching, but that every coach coaches their players during games, raising questions about the validity of the rule.
Questions were also raised as to whether Williams even saw the gesture made by her coach.
After destroying her racquet on the court after losing the fifth game of the second set, Williams received that second violation, and a point penalty at the start of the sixth game.
Williams vehemently refuted the coaching accusation in an angry exchange with umpire Ramos.
“I didn’t cheat. I didn’t get coaching,” Williams shouted at Ramos.
“You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life. I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her. I have never cheated.”
Osaka went on to hold that game to love and broke Williams in the following game to go 4-3 up in the second.
At the change of ends, Williams was penalised a third time for calling Ramos a “thief” for “stealing a point” from her, resulting in a game penalty to fall further behind at 3-5.
Williams then called for the tournament referee, remonstrating in tears, saying: “This is not fair. This has happened to me too many times.”
“There’s a lot of men who have said a lot of things and because they’re men, that doesn’t matter,”
“Because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me? That is not right.
“You know it, and I know you can’t admit it, but I know you know it’s not right”.
The decision to penalise Williams was condemned by former players.
Despite being put on the back foot, Williams harnessed that sense of injustice to serve out the following game to love, amid a chorus of boos from a hyped-up Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
However Osaka showed an extraordinary level of composure to put that to one side, stepping up to serve out the match.
Williams’ next opportunity to equal the record 24 major singles titles of Australia’s Margaret Court will likely come at the Australian Open.