It should have been the proudest moment of her young career. But it wasn’t. Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese tennis player, male or female, to win a major singles title at a Grand Slam. Yet all the talk is about Serena Williams. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s give the 20 year old her credit. Playing against her idol in her very first Grand Slam final, she did not crack. She dominated the first set 6-2 to put her in a commanding position. That’s where things got dicey. With her idol slamming her racket and breaking down before her, Osaka somehow held it all together with maturity and grace to win the second set 6-4. Yes, she did earn this. And yes her moment in the sun was marred because she was given a point and a game. But this was her tournament, and even Serena admitted that.
Now, to Williams. The 36 year old has been nothing short of amazing since returning from the birth of her child. She has reached two finals now, falling short in both of them. This performance here, though, could be the one that people remember for the rest of their lives. Even with her chance to make history, she showed grace when telling fans to let Osaka have her moment. And she could have gone a different direction. In the second set, she was given a warning for receiving coaching from the umpire. She did not take well to this, especially after she broke her racket after smashing it. That is where the point penalty came in. Things only got worse when she complained during a break, calling the umpire a “thief.” She then had a game taken away, and that was all she wrote for Williams. A strange, captivating final to end two weeks of great tennis in New York City.
Elsewhere, college football week 2 was going on in earnest. One team that got tested to the fore was #2 Clemson, who hung on in the 4th quarter to win at Texas A&M 28-26. The Aggies scored 14 unanswered points in the 4th, but they just didn’t have quite enough to pull off the upset of the Tigers. The rest of the top seven, including Alabama and Georgia, also rolled to big wins. Notre Dame just about got by Ball State. #10 Stanford defeated #17 USC 17-3. And the biggest upset of the week was Herm Edwards’ Arizona State team defeating Michigan State 16-13 on a last second field goal.