The top 5: the cool Naomi Osaka beats Serena

naomi osaka
Naomi Osaka, the Japanese who lives in Florida, won the US Open, and  arrived as one of the best players this year. Yes, the 20-year-old wasn’t perfect, but slowly, she got better and better though the fortnight. At the US Open, she fought. Her big serve was unbelievably good, her forehand was powerful, and her backhand was vicious. She returned pretty well, too, and she hustled.

Even in the last game, when it was 5-4, and Osaka had to serve it out, she wasn’t very nervous and took her time. She won match point with a hard serve into the corner. Yes, she cried, because there were a lot of people who were booing, but at the end, she smiled, a few times.  The now No. 7 could win a number of majors over the next 15 years. Osaka is that good.     

The Others

Serena Williams
At the US Open, Serena played six matches, and she looked darn good, knocking off a bunch of strong players. But in the final, against Osaka, she was mediocre, half and half. She served OK, but it’s not like she needed to bring in her massive first serves, and her second serve was up and down. She rarely came into the net, which she should have. When she belted her backhand and forehand, they would fly out, and there were a number of errors.

Obviously, Serena was very angry during the match. She was very, very ticked off. She yelled, she screamed, she busted her racket, she was very frustrated. She argued with the chair umpire, asking for an apology, time and time again. The fans were surprised by the code violation. They didn’t really know why. But many people love her, so they booed with the the umpire.

Serena lost it, on court and off court, she argued some, and she defended herself. OK, yes, it’s all about tennis, and she really wanted to win. But, if she stopped yelling, after a few minutes, and played, it could have had a different outcome. She had to be super calm, but she couldn’t, and perhaps she would have overcome Osaka.

As Serena said, Osaka played great and she deserved it. Good for Serena for saying that. But she has to be honest, and should have said, “Sorry, I messed it up, apologies.” She hasn’t done that yet. We will see whether she dowa it during the fall— if she is going to play for the rest of the year. Everything is questionable now. Ugh.   

Anastasija Sevastova
The 29-year-old Sevastova showed off her incredible variety, upending Elena Svitolina and Sloane Stephens before going down versus Serena pretty quickly. But, her amazing drop shots, her very quick feet and variety were in full display. Yes, she needs to improve her serves, and her returns, but she will remain dangerous.  

Madison Keys
For the most part, Keys played well, even better, because from January through most of August, she was so-so. But at the USO, she was aggressive, more accurate and she focused, a lot. However, Osaka served huge, and Keys couldn’t break her. She has to find some consistency. Hopefully, during the fall, she will be healthy and move up the ladder.

Carla Suárez Navarro
The veteran Spaniard beat Caroline Garcia 5-7 6-4 7-6(4), then she beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets. She did lose against Keys in the quarters, but still, the-30 year-old decided to hit her shots hard and deep, spin it, slice it, and smack the ball when she had an opportunity. She has been around for a long time, and she has yet to win a major, and maybe she won’t. But, given that she has been better this year, the No. 22 has a long shot at a Slam.

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