Inspired Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win second US Open title and third Grand Slam
Naomi Osaka overcame Victoria Azarenka to win the 2020 US Open title in New York. The Japanese star completed a double at Flushing Meadows after her 2018 triumph.
Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the trophy after winning her Women's Singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day Thirteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Naomi Osaka battled back from a set down to beat Victoria Azarenka 1-6 6-3 6-3 and win her second US Open title and third Grand Slam.
The fourth seed completed a double at Flushing Meadows after her 2018 triumph despite having won only one game in the opening set when Azarenka, playing in her first major final in seven years, looked dominant.
The 22-year-old showed tremendous character to recover from losing the first set, and she had to battle through the decider to triumph in New York once more.
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Azarenka's intensity at the start of the match was incredible and the way she stormed through the opening set was breathtaking. But she could not quite sustain that level and as Osaka found her groove the momentum of the match shifted.
Osaka had to break twice in order to come through the deciding set, and the Japanese star fell to the ground in disbelief and joy as she clinched victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was the first time since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1994 that a player had lost the opening set of a women's final and battled back to triumph.
Naomi Osaka of Japan lays down in celebration after winning her Women's Singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day Thirteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Image credit: Getty Images
The setting could not have been more different to her first US Open crown in the stadium two years ago when she beat home favourite Serena Williams in dramatic fashion.
"I actually don't want to play you in more finals," Osaka told Azarenka with a smile during the victory ceremony.
"I didn't really enjoy that. That was a really tough match for me.
And yes, really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger so just to have the opportunity to play you is really great and I learned a lot.
Azarenka's comeback on tour has been remarkable after she left the circuit to give birth to her son Leo, and the 31-year-old has proven that she belongs back on the big stage after her two Australian Open wins earlier in her career.
"I want to thank my team for sticking with me and believing in me," Azarenka said.
"It has been a long road of getting here, but this was fun, so I hope to see you guys again soon."
Osaka's third Grand Slam title cements her status as the new star of women's tennis, while for the Belarusian her run to the showpiece match in New York for a third time shows she is back at the top of the game.