Naomi Osaka is the U.S. Open champion once again.
The 22-year-old captured her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka in three sets inside a nearly empty Arthur Ashe Stadium.
As Azarenka's backhand hit the net and fell to the court on championship point, Osaka let out a quick scream, congratulated her opponent and fell to the court, laying motionless on her back as she soaked in the moment.
The intense match featured a small number of spectators comprised of close family, friends, coaches and some players as the U.S. Open remained closed to the public due to COVID-19.
That left only a handful of people to witness Osaka stage a dramatic comeback after falling 6-1 in the first set.
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Naomi Osaka defeats Victoria Azarenka to win the US Open and improve to 3-0 in major finals. Osaka played four 3-setters en route to the title, tying Serena Williams (1999) and Sloane Stephens (2017) for the most by a US Open women's champion in the Open Era. https://t.co/fOkIES3MFV
U.S. Open Women's Singles Final
No. 4 Naomi Osaka def. Victoria Azarenka: 1-6, 6-3, 6-3
Points won: Osaka 86, Azarenka 83
"I thought the third time was the charm," Azarenka said after falling in the U.S. Open final again. "I guess I'll have to try again."
The 31-year-old from Belarus said she hopes to face Osaka in a few more finals down the line, but the current champ wasn't having it.
"I actually don't want to play you in more finals," Osaka deadpanned. "I didn't really enjoy that. It was a really tough match for me."
There was no question about that.
Osaka seemed completely lost to begin the match, dropping the first set in just 26 minutes and appearing frustrated with herself. The Japanese national confirmed as much, saying her mindset changed when she told herself it would be "embarrassing" to lose in less than an hour.
The comeback started midway through the second set after Azarenka went up 2-0.
Osaka won two straight games to even the set before winning 6-3.
She would go on another run early in the third set, winning four straight games—including the fifth of the set after going down 0-40—before Azarenka attempted a comeback of her own.
Playing in her first Grand Slam final in seven years, Azarenka won two straight games to make it 4-3, but Osaka broke her serve in the eighth game to put her in a controlling position with the match on the line.
It was a surreal moment for Osaka. She admitted afterwards she grew up watching Azarenka in finals and found inspiration in her opponents game.
Now she found herself having defeated one of her idols to capture her second U.S. Open in three years. Osaka couldn't help but take in the empty stadium from her back at center court.
"I always see everyone sort of collapse after match point," Osaka said. "But I always think you may injure yourself so I wanted to do it safely."