Osaka cruises to second Australian Open title

February 22 ------ Naomi Osaka cements her standing as the new queen of women's tennis. Naomi Osaka gave Jennifer Brady a lesson in Grand Slam tennis as she cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 win to claim her second Australian Open title on Saturday, February 20 and cement her standing as the new queen of the women's game. Osaka's victory over the 22nd-seeded American at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena gave the Japanese her fourth major crown.

Fans hoping for a repeat of the pair's engrossing US Open semifinal last year were left disappointed as Brady froze in the spotlight of her first Grand Slam final. Third seed Osaka played some way short of her best tennis but it was more than enough as she clinched 6 straight games to take the 1st set and stormed to a 4-0 lead in the 2nd. Brady belatedly conjured some resistance to break Osaka against the flow of play and claw back to 5-3. But the American bowed out as she started, with errors flying off her racket. Osaka served out the match to love, with a big serve sealing it when Brady thumped a forehand return long. Osaka held her racket over her head and beamed in an understated celebration.

Osaka, who won the 2019 tournament, offered Brady warm congratulations and thanked the fans at the trophy ceremony. "When we played in the semis of the US Open, a couple of months ago, and I told everyone that 'Listen you're going to be a problem'. And I was right," said Osaka, who will be world No. 2 when the rankings are updated. "It feels really incredible for me. I didn't play my last Grand Slam with fans so just to have this energy it really means a lot."

On a cool and breezy night at Rod Laver Arena, Osaka warmed up with two aces as she served out the opening game to love but the blazing start fizzled out in a stream of errors from both players. Grappling with early nerves, Brady dropped serve after two double-faults but quickly broke back when Osaka double-faulted to gift a break point. Brady breathed some life into the contest at 4-4, luring Osaka in with a drop-shot, then scrambling forward to retrieve and lob her for break point. Osaka canceled it nervelessly with an imperious forehand winner launched from the baseline. Brady kept offering Osaka gifts from her racket. Serving to stay in the set at 5-4, she double-faulted then slapped a wild forehand over the baseline to cough up set point.