Fourth seed Naomi Osaka outlasted an inspired Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final to win the women’s singles title of the US Open on Saturday.
It’s Osaka’s second US Open title and third Grand Slam title after her victories at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.
“In the end all I focus on is what I can control on the tennis court. That’s what I did in 2018 final. I feel like that’s what I did this time,” said the 22-year-old Japanese according to Xinhua news agency. Osaka had previously beaten defeated Serena Williams to win the 2018 title.
Belarus’s Azarenka, 31, stormed to win the first set 6-1 in just 26 minutes while Osaka was uncharacteristically sloppy hitting a whopping 13 unforced errors.
At the start of the second set, Azarenka broke again for a 2-0 lead, but from there Osaka fought back to break her opponent’s serve twice and took a 4-3 lead.
Osaka then gained the momentum and broke a third time to take the match to a deciding set.
“I think in the first set I was so nervous, I wasn’t moving my feet. I felt like I was not playing to my best. There are too many things in my head. It would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour so I just have to try my best,” Osaka said of the turnaround.
Osaka broke in the fourth game of the third set to take a comfortable 3-1 lead. In the next game, Azarenka blew a golden opportunity to get back into the match, wasting all three break points as Osaka recovered from 0-40 down to hold for a 4-1 lead.
After that, Osaka dominated and claimed the set 6-3.
With the runner-up finish, Azarenka said she’s proud of herself.
“I haven’t had such results in quite a long time, so I’m very excited for it. Today, it’s a loss, but it doesn’t change for me much. Of course I would have loved to win today. It is what it is,” Azarenka said.
“I gave everything that I could today on the court. I felt that I progressed a lot. I’ve played a lot of great matches. I felt that I’ve tested myself physically, mentally on very difficult stages. It’s been great. I want to continue to keep going the same way, enjoy myself,” she added.