Naomi Osaka has won her fourth major title with a straight sets victory over 22nd seed Jennifer Brady in Saturday’s Australian Open final in Melbourne.
The 23-year-old Japanese proved too strong 6-4, 6-3 for Brady, who she met in the US Open semi-finals last year, before also winning that title at Flushing Meadows.
Osaka has now won two Australian Open titles and two US Open titles, which is outstanding given her age and the raft of women’s major title winners in recent years.
The Japanese was flawless in victory, while Brady looked nervous early, losing an early break to love.
After Osaka’s early break, Brady pulled one back, only for the Japanese to clinch the set by breaking the American at 5-4.
Osaka raced to a 4-0 lead in the second, before eventually triumphing in one hour and 17 minutes.
“I don’t look at expectations as a burden anymore,” Osaka said.
“I feel like I’m at the point now where it’s something that I’ve worked for. People wouldn’t expect things from me if I hadn’t done things prior. If that makes sense.
“I feel like no one has expected things of me when I was younger, and now that I have kind of climbed up the ranks, of course there’s going to be more pressures, but I feel like also that’s motivation, because I also want to do better for myself, as well.”
Osaka has now also competed in four major finals and won all four, showing a level of composure and coolness which is seldom matched.
She appears to now be breaking away from the current women’s singles crop and stepping up to a level beyond, moving up to number two in the rankings, beyond Ash Barty who has only one major to her name.
Osaka is still a long way behind 39-year-old Serena Williams who has 23 major titles to her name, but the next best active player is Venus Williams with seven and then Osaka, followed by Angelique Kerber on three.
“I feel like the biggest thing that I want to achieve is, this is going to sound really odd, but hopefully I play long enough to play a girl that said that I was once her favourite player or something,” Osaka humbly said.
“I think that’s the coolest thing that could ever happen to me. I just think that that’s how the sport moves forward.”