Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open 2021 women’s singles trophy and a fourth Grand Slam title on Saturday as she beat American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 17 minutes at the Rod Laver Arena. This is the second title when Osaka has won the Australian Open right after becoming the US Open champion in the previous year. Osaka had won her first and second Grand Slam title in the same fashion in 2018 and 2019.
Osaka now has to her name two US Open titles (2018, 2020) and two Australian Open trophies (2019, 2021). Brady started nervously and got broken early in the first set even though Osaka was struggling to get her first serves in. However, Brady’s settled her nerves soon and broke back Osaka. From there, both women went toe-to-toe and even saved break points to stay resilient.
With Osaka leading 5-4 and Brady serving to stay in the first set, Brady had a moment to forget when she missed a simple forehand to hand the 2019 Australian Open winner the first set.
Osaka started the second set on fire as she was able to find her first serves and put on show her dominant forehand and backhand. Osaka used all her brilliance to blow Brady away initially and take a 4-0 lead in the second set.
However, Brady fought back hard and even broke back Osaka once but the Japanese held her nerves while serving for the match and won her service game 40-0 to take the title.
Osaka will rise to world No.2 with the title in Melbourne.
Osaka created history as the first Japanese woman to contest a Grand Slam singles final and the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion, as she defeated Serena Williams to lift the 2018 US Open title in a controversial final.
Osaka was in tears as the final was marred by an on-court altercation between Williams and the umpire as boos rained down from the crowd both during the match and the award ceremony. Osaka later said that the win was “a little bit bittersweet” and “it wasn’t necessarily the happiest memory.”
At the following Australian Open in 2019, Osaka defeated Petra Kvitova, becoming the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015, and was the first player to follow up her first Grand Slam singles title with another since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
With her second win, Osaka also became the first Asian player to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles.
MASK AND GLORY
Osaka struggled after splitting with her coach Sascha Bajin, failing to contest as injuries started to take a toll on her performance.
In early 2020, Osaka made a stunning return at the US Open, without losing a single match. She highlighted the Black Lives Matter movement as Osaka wore masks to raise awareness for the police shooting of Jacob Blake and the killing of George Floyd.
She walked onto the court wearing a different black mask, each of which with the name of an African American who had been killed by the police in the US in all of her seven matches.
Osaka became the highest-earning female athlete in 2020, posting $37.4 million over the past 12 months from endorsements and prize money.
According to Forbes, Osaka’s total is a one-year record for a female athlete, topping the previous mark of 29.7 million set by Maria Sharapova in 2015.
Osaka’s apparel sponsor has been Nike since 2019, replaced Adidas, who she had partened with for the last four years. She released a clothing collection in association with Nike, featuring her monogram logo that uses her initials and is inspired by the Japanese flag.
Osaka has been represented by the IMG management company since 2016 and is also the brand ambassador for Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan and Japanese electronics manufacturer Citizen Watch. She endorses several other Japanese companies, including noodle maker Nissin Foods, cosmetics producer Shiseido, the broadcasting station Wowow, and airline All Nippon Airways (ANA).
Osaka, in January 2021, was named the brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton and she will appear in their Spring-Summer 2021 campaign.
Osaka, in response to comments from fans who critised her after she posted a series images of herself in swimwear, said that she is “creeped out” by fans who urge her to maintain her “innocent image”.
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Osaka, born in Osaka, Japan, was born in 1997 to a Japanese mother and a Haitian-born father and moved to the US when she was just three years old. Osaka, who has a dual-citizenship, announced that she would relinquish her US citizenship in order to represent Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.