Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, 21, won her first trophy since winning the Australian Open in January. The World number four turns pro this time as she clinched the Pan Pacific Open final on Sunday. With this win, she becomes first Japanese to win Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date's historic win in 1995. On her return, she defeated world number 41 Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3 in the final, an easy task for the regaining champion.
Osaka secured her first two Grand Slams at the US and Australian Open since her last outing. Since then she has improved her brilliant form and came out triumphant. “I just wanted to win this really bad,” Osaka, who saw many losses this season told a news conference.
- Naomi Osaka beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3 in the Toray Pan Pacific final
- She became the first Japanese player to win the title since Kimiko Date's historic win in 1995
- With this win, Osaka stayed on course to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen
Her strategies on and off court seemed pretty offbeat since she has sacked two coaches in a span of seven months. “I think what I learned from this tournament is just to focus every point, and just to have really positive energy,” Osaka added. She stayed focus to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
Naomi became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion – man or woman – after thrashing her idol, Serena Williams, in last year’s US Open final. She went toe-to-toe with the 23-time Grand Slam champion and defeated her in the infamous 2018 US Open final.
Earlier this year, realising that she had robbed Naomi Osaka a chance to celebrate her maiden title win, Serena felt guilty of being unfair to Osaka and wrote a heartfelt letter apologising to her. In her essay published in the US magazine Harpers Bazaar, Serena recalled, “When Naomi’s response came through, tears rolled down my face. ‘People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two,’ she said graciously. ‘No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.’”
With this win, she becomes first Japanese to win Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date's historic win in 1995.
Responding to the letter the 21-year-old Japanese player responded with a beautiful message. She applauded the seven-time Wimbledon champion for her bravery and praised the manner in which Serena stood for herself.
During Serena’s outburst at the US Open, she had accused the chair umpire to be a “liar” and a “thief.” Naomi had won the game defeating Serena 6-2, 6-4 to triumph in her first major in September last year. However, Serena engaged in a controversy with chair umpire Carlos Ramos. For the misbehaviour on court, she was handed a code violation for coaching, docked a point for smashing her racquet and penalised a game for verbal abuse.
Naomi has been playing professional tennis since 2013. Her major breakthrough came when she became an international sensation after beating Angelique Kerber in the first round of the US Open in 2017. In addition to defeating Kerber, Naomi has won matches over other long-time tennis greats, including Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep. She is now eyeing gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Feature Image Credit: Cosmopolitan