Naomi Osaka's historic two-week run culminated with a controversial (6-2, 6-4) victory over Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open Final on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Osaka already etched her name in the record books when she became the first Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam final. She not only added to her resume with this win but also prevented Williams from tying Margaret Court's record of 24 career Grand Slam singles titles.
This marked Osaka's third appearance in any tournament final. She had a 1-1 mark in the previous two, with her first victory coming at the BNP Paribas Open in March.
Early in the second set, Williams approached the chair umpire to deliver a message after he assessed her a coaching violation:
It appeared as if Williams' coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was in the stands giving Williams advice on the court with hand gestures. He explained the situation during the ESPN broadcast after the match ended.
"All coaches are coaching throughout the match," Mouratoglou said (h/t 5NEWS' Andrew Scaglione). "But check the record. I've never been called for a coaching violation in my career."
In the sixth game of the second set, Osaka started up 15-love as a result of the penalty. Williams was not happy with chair umpire Carlos Ramos:
After Osaka took a 4-3 lead in the second set, Williams continued to have problems with Ramos. He assessed her a game penalty, prompting her to call in the referee.
"This has happened to me too many times," Williams said on the court as she was fighting back tears, via CNN's Jill Martin.
Players around the sport were expressing their frustration with the umpiring during the match:
The incident briefly seemed to fire up Serena, who fought back to 5-4 down by winning all four points in the ninth game.
With everything happening around her, Osaka was able to serve for the championship in the 10th game of the second set. The budding superstar didn't seem to let Williams' brief surge of adrenaline faze her, capturing her first Grand Slam title with this serve:
Serena was off her game in the first set, committing four double-faults in the first six games to fall behind 5-1. Winning the first set has been paramount to the success of both finalists this season:
Osaka would end up taking the opening set in just 34 minutes. She couldn't have asked for a better start, thanks to forehand winners like this:
This marked the first time all tournament Williams lost the opening set. She's only gone to three sets once—in the fourth round against Kaia Kanepi—and is at her best when forcing opponents to play catch-up. Her record in Grand Slam finals is now 2-8 when dropping the first set.
While the controversy involving Ramos will be the main topic of conversation coming out of the match, Twitter pointed out Osaka's moment and brilliance against the best player of all time shouldn't be overlooked:
Osaka had virtually every statistical advantage in the win. Her six aces doubled Williams' total. She won 72 percent of her first-serve opportunities and was 4-of-5 on break points.
Saturday was Osaka's crowning achievement in her young career. It came in a shroud of controversy, but the sport's newest superstar earned this title with an excellent two-week run.