courtesy: bdnews24.com
courtesy: bdnews24.com

Serena Williams is an example of great sportsmanship and was very graceful  in defeat to the new kid on the block , the deserving victor, Japan’s latest ambassador to our wonderful sport ,

Naomi Osaka.

Toss : The toss up was won by SerenaWilliams . she chose to open the set with her own reliable and often her strongest weapon . In her full WTA career Serena has the best  career statistics of 74 % points won on service.It was no wonder that she chose to start the match on her own serve ,hoping to keep her nose in front in the sure to be nervy opening set.

Crucial SET  1

The fist set was going to be very crucial for both Naomi and Serena .In 2018 ,after winning the first set Naomi had won all her sets with a record standing at 31-0 .

This included a 6-3 ,6-2 win over Serena in the first round of the Miami open in March,2018.

In 2018,Serena on the other side ,had played fewer matches ,after her return from taking a break for motherhood. But still ,in 2018 she had never lost any match after winning the first set. Williams record of 16-0 as intimidating as ever for the new grand-slam finalist, Naomi.

Set 1 story

The set startedwith the first point won by Naomi Osaka in a 12 shots exchange off the second serve of Serena.

Serena double faulted in the second point . She then looked up to the adulating spectators, then looked up composing herself ,before settling into her attacking tennis routine with 2 aces and 2 fine volleys. The score read 1-0 in Serena’s favor.

Naomi started her service game in exactly the same fashion losing the first point in a short rally and then double faulting.

She then started focusing on keeping the ball away from Serena and getting the errors after Serena had to chase the ball down.

The score was 1-1.

Break no 1.

In game 3 at an even 30-30,on Serena’s serve, she uncharacteristically makes an unforced net error giving the 1st break point to Naomi. Naomi just had to get into receiver position to take the break- Serena double faulted to give Naomi the crucial break and smell the possibilities of her dreams of a first grand slam ,playing against the idol of her childhood.

The score read 1-2 in Naomi’s favor

Consolidation of the 1st break.

The challenge of the backlash from Serena after the break handed over to the now increasingly confident Naomi was successfully quelled. Naomi did not allow Serena a look-in ,after losing a point from an error orchestrated by her attacking opponent, as she took 4 continuous points. Serena was really striking the ball well and as good as we have seen, but the 3 points before the final ace ,ended up in Naomi’s account with a crisp game won on 40-15.Naomi is now 3-1 up.

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Break no 2.

In the 5 th game,

Serena settled into her service game with a 30-love lead on her serve, but her backhand lets her down now for the next point with a double-fault again. A long forehand from Serena ,gives Naomi the second breakpoint ,this time again converted,with a backhand error from Serena.

 

With the score reading ,4-1 in her favor,Naomi is now looking to the challenge of consolidating the double break with a hold,and come to striking distance of serving out the set.

Things became tight here with both players going all out with Naomi ,facing 2 break points herself.

On the first ,she saves herself with a timely 117mph ace down the T, surprising Serena and manages to wriggle out with solid play on the next break.

This hold now separates the 2 players at 5-2in Naomi’s favor.

 

Naomi now made it look routine as she quickly raced to a 40-15 lead ,with a bodyline serve now to close the set .

In between the sets at changeover




 

The script is now looking unfamiliar for the 6 time winner ,Serena.

Set 2 story:

In the 1st game, Serena shakes off the scoreline in the first set and easily holds her service game.The score read 1-0 in Serena’s favor.

On Naomi’s service game ,there is a little hesitation in the swing in the first point ,but composing herself ,Naomi takes the next 3 points making it 40-15.

The first notice by the Referee in the chair, Carlos Ramos:

Serena’s coach seems to be gesturing his ward to move forward and capture the net.Referee points this out as a coaching violation.

Serena seems to respond and seems to be more attacking and trying to move forward, and executes a brilliant backhand pass catching Naomi in “no mans land”.

Serena is held off and Naomi manages to hold the game.The score was 1-1.

Serena again serving , brings herself to a break point at 30-40 , digs in again and roars back with a brilliant drop shot bringing her to game point. An error from Naomi and the game is in server Serena’s favor.The score read 2-1 in Serena’s favor.

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Break no 3.

 

In this 4 th game of the 2nd set, Serena takes the fist 2 points before Naomi makes it 30-30.

Naomi has to face 3 break points ,which she saves but succumbs in the 4 th charge by Serena.




Some unbelievable tennis and show of character from both players setsthe stage on fire.

Serena now leads 3-1.

Break no 4.

 

Serena serves an ace at 15 all to go to 30-15 .

Serena then serves two double faults to give another break point opportunity to Naomi gets the break when Serena hits long on a backhand from deep behind.

The score in Williams favor is 3-2.

Break of Raquet and point penalty.

Serena now smashes her playing raquet into the ground and the refereeawards  a code violation.

The referee now announces a point penalty at the start of the 6 th game due to this code and the earlier coaching violation .

 

Naomi starts this game with a point awarded by the referee at 15-0. Before she can start ,there is a lot of explanation and talk by Serena ,where she explains her behavior and seems disturbed by the referees decision.

When play is finally started ,the game goes in Naomi’s favor.

The score is 3-3.

 

Break no 5.

Serena comes all guns blazing to hold her serve and this is where the scoreboard pressure and reversal of fortune in the previous game seemed to affect her. Naomi pulled off ,what could have been a decisive break of serve ,even with the match not taking an unexpected turn of events which followed immediately after this break.

The score now read 4-3 in Osaka’s favor, Naomi breaking Serena’s serve once again.

 

Action by referee and game penalty.

Serena is now facing the wall and as she sits in her chair at changeover,

Carlos Ramos receives a fresh lashing by Serena ,who tells him that he is a thief for stealing a point from herwherein he resolves to now award a full game penalty to Serena for verbal abuse.

The score now reads 5-3 in Naomisfavor.( an extra game awarded to Naomi by the referee)

The match referee is also called in by Serena,but the decision stands.

Serena serves to hold her game to make it 4-5.

 

The chaotic scenes do not affect Naomi who now serves in the final game ,closing out the match.

 

This was not the match drama that sports fans and tennis lovers wanted.

The crowd was in no mood to acknowledge the new champion with boos accompanying the announcements in the awards function.

This was when Serena, the living legend and most awarded woman tennis player today, took charge of the crowd and cajoled and requested them to stop the booing  and give full credit to the new worthy champion “ Naomi Osaka, of Japan.

Naomi’s whole demeanor and respect for the legendary Serena Williams has not escaped the gaze of the sporting world.

She has the respect and affection of all who watched .

She also has the warm comradeship of none other than Serena Williams ,who showed us what  a sportsman ultimately is at the core a sportsman ,who can applaud a worthy opponent.

 

Naomi’s prize purse – 3.8 million USD.

 

 

 

Manoj Pandey



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