Controversy Overshadows Naomi Osaka’s Historic Win Over Williams At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Controversy Overshadows Naomi Osaka’s Historic Win Over Williams At US Open

A massive argument between the umpire and Serena Williams has marred the biggest win of Osaka’s career.

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Naomi Osaka has become the first Japanese player to win the US Open after defeating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4, in a dramatic final at the US Open.

Heading into Sunday’s showdown, Osaka said it was an ‘honour’ to play somebody that she idolised whilst growing up. The rising star of the women’s tour produced a stunning mixture of aggression and angle shots to overwhelm a frustrated Williams. Although Osaka’s performance was overshadowed by Williams‘ argument with the umpire after she was accused of receiving coaching. A confrontation that resulted in the American receiving a shocking game-penalty.

“I know that everybody was cheering for her (Williams) and I’m sorry it had to end like this.” A tearful Osaka said during the trophy ceremony.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals. I’m glad that I was able to do that.” She later added.

Heading into the final, the 20-year-old was undoubtedly the underdog against her experienced rival. Osaka was playing in her first grand slam final, compared to Williams’ 31st. Nevertheless, the 20th seed executed her game plan perfectly. Hitting shots deep towards the baseline and mixing up the direction of her speedy serve.

Playing in a full capacity Arthur Ashe stadium, Osaka’s seemingly invisible nerves drew numerous errors from the 23-time grand slam champion. Three games into the match, the Japanese player drew first blood after a Williams double fault granted her a break for 2-1. Continuing to pile the pressure on the home favourite with the use of angle shots, Osaka sealed the double break two games later at the expense of another mistake from her rival. The one-sided opener drew both shock and admiration from the animated crowd in New York. Just 35 minutes into the match, Osaka sealed the 6-2 lead with the help of a body serve.

A shock ending

Williams’ mood deteriorated further during the early stages of set number two. The former world No.1 was issued with a code violation for coaching from the stands. Prompting her to approach the umpire, Carlos Ramos, to say ‘I don’t cheat. I would rather lose.’ A video replay from ESPN, showed that Williams’ coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was indicating with his hands to move forward. Something he later admitted doing, but not directly towards his player.

Following on from that controversial warning, Williams then erupted after receiving a point penalty. After breaking for a 3-1 lead in the second frame, Osaka broke back immediately. Prompting the American to smash her racket onto the court. Resulting in Ramos issuing her a second warning and a point penalty in accordance with the rules.

‘I didn’t get coaching. I didn’t get coaching. You need to make an announcement that I didn’t get coaching. You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life.’ Williams said in protest.

Amid the confrontation, Osaka’s mental strength remained remarkably flawless. Breaking for a set and 4-3 lead with the help of a stunning forehand winner.

As Osaka closed in on the biggest win of her career, another clash between Williams and Ramos at the change of ends stunned the world of tennis. After calling the official a ‘thief, Williams was handed a game penalty. Prompting a furious and upset Williams to demand a talk with the referee.

“You will never, ever, ever be on another court of mine as long as you live. You are the liar. You owe me an apology. You stole a point from me. You’re a thief, too.” Said Williams.

Regardless of the shock action, Osaka remained composed throughout as she sealed the biggest title of her career by converting her second championship point.

At the age of 20, Osaka will rise to seventh in the world rankings when they are updated on Monday. She will become the highest ranked Japanese player since 1996.

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(VIDEO) Day Six At The ATP Finals: Line-Up Confirmed For Super Saturday In London

Ubitennis looks ahead to the two semi-finals matches set to take place at the season-ending finale on Saturday.

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Novak Djokovic has reiterated his credentials as a key contender for the ATP Finals title with the help of another clinical performance. The world No.1 dropped only five points behind his serve during his straight sets triumph over Marin Cilic. Meanwhile, rising star Alexander Zverev was another player to produce a powerful service display as he brushed aside John Isner. Zverev will take on Roger Federer on Saturday afternoon, followed by Djokovic against Kevin Anderson in the evening.  

 

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Why Becoming A Father Has Helped John Isner Achieve The Best Season Of His Career

The world No.10 reflects on becoming a father in September and the impact it has had on his life as a professional athlete.

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John Isner at the 2018 ATP Finals (photo by Alberto Pezzali)

John Isner exits the ATP Finals with a mixture of disappointment and pride following his loss to Alexander Zverev on Friday.

Isner, who was playing in the year-end finale for the first time in his career, was knocked out in straight sets by his 21-year-old opponent. Bringing a close to what has been the most successful season of his career. Isner has won two ATP titles, including his first at Masters level in Miami, and reached his first grand slam semi-final at Wimbledon.

“There’s definitely some things I could have done better. Didn’t come into this tournament with that much momentum. I think that maybe showed a little bit.” He commented about his week in London.
“I did have a good year, but I had a lot of losses, as well. I had three really good tournaments. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get inside the top 10, which is what I did this year.” He added.

A player breaking through on the tour in their early thirties is becoming a regular occurrence in the world of men’s tennis. However, in Isner’s case, his rise hasn’t entirely been down to everything he has learned on the court. 2018 also saw him become a father. In September his wife, Madison, gave birth to a baby girl called Hunter Grace.

There is a saying that once somebody becomes a parent their perspective on life changes. Something the American No.1 agrees with. The question is what influence has it had on Isner’s tennis?

“I think it’s definitely a life-changing moment for myself and my wife. For me professionally, I think it can definitely help going forward.” He commented about fatherhood.
“I just think prior to our daughter being born, getting married is another big step. That definitely settles things down personally. We were always dating and together, but we took that next step. It was the perfect timing for all of it.
“Everything has gone pretty fluidly in my personal life, so I think that certainly helps. That’s why I’ve at times this year played remarkably well.”

The perspective is one that mirrors some of his peers. Novak Djokovic said in July that fatherhood was his ‘biggest motivation’ for winning Wimbledon. Meanwhile, Roger Federer once said in 2012 that his twin daughters “helped his game more than anything.’

Finding harmony in his life both on and off the court, Isner believes he can improve further heading into the new year. He ends his season with a win-loss record of 34-22, including his three victories over top 10 players at the Miami Open in March.

“Going forward, I’ll be looking to play well in the big events again. There’s still a lot of room for improvement for me. I started the year off in 2018 in pretty poor form. So I can improve on that. If I can, I can possibly improve my ranking and give myself more momentum early on in the season.”

Isner concludes 2018 inside the year-end top 10 on the ATP rankings for the first time in his career.

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Inspired By Netflix Film, Kevin Anderson Backs Efforts To Cut The Use Of Plastic In Tennis

‘Once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee it’ – how one movie has inspired the world No.6 to get involved in the fight against pollution.

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Kevin Anderson has praised recent initiatives implemented by the ATP to reduce the plastic waste footprint of their tournaments.

At this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, a series of new measures have been applied to help reduce the environmental impact it causes. More prominently concerning the use of plastic bottles. Water coolers and fountains have been provided for players and media staff long with reusable bottles. Players also have glass bottles provided to them in the locker room.

The approach is one Anderson hopes can be expanded and applied throughout the entire tour. The South African has been a vocal supporter on Twitter of doing more to protect the environment.

“In London and also at the Next Gen, there are quite a few initiatives trying to reduce plastic bottles, trying to reuse them.” Said Anderson.
“The idea is to take everything we learn from these couple weeks, then trying to create some bigger initiatives next year both from what the players can do and also promoting it to everybody who comes and watches tennis.”

Anderson, who is the vice-president of the players’ council, says his interest in the issue was elevated after watching a film on Netflix. A Plastic Ocean is a documentary movie about the effect of plastic pollution on oceans. It features journalist Craig Leeson and world champion freediver Tanya Streeter

“It’s always been on the back of my mind. Just generally I’d say being sort of aware of our environment, something that’s always been important to me.” Anderson explained. “Plastic specifically, during French Open, through Netflix of all places, I saw a documentary called Plastic Oceans. Once you see it, it’s impossible to unsee it.’
“My coach is also very passionate about it. Something we’re trying to build on.”

According to the ATP, The O2 sends less than 1% of its 3,500 tonnes of waste per year to landfill. The O2 is the current venue of the ATP Finals.

Earlier this week, the 32-year-old donated $2000 following one match played in London. The world No.6 vowed to give $100 for every ace he produced during his clash with Kei Nishikori to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), who are battling the deadliest wildfire in California’s history. In total, he produced 10 aces to raise $1000. On top of that, he also donated the same amount to the Humane Society of Ventura County in Ohio.

Anderson will return to action on Saturday when he will become the first African player to contest a semi-final match at the year-end tournament.

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