Naomi Osaka appears destined for grand slam greatness after capturing her second Australian Open crown in three years with a straight-sets win over American Jennifer Brady in a one-sided women’s final at Melbourne Park.
The Japanese superstar needed only 77 minutes to see off Brady 6-4 6-3 on Saturday night and become the first woman since Monica Seles 30 years ago to win her first four grand slam finals.
All-times majors title leader Margaret Court also managed the feat in the early 1960s.
But, ominously for Osaka’s rivals, not even legends Serena and Venus Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert or Billie-Jean King managed to win their first major finals.
Still only 23, Osaka now holds two of the sport’s four biggest trophies and could conceivably secure a non-calendar-year grand slam if she also wins the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July.
Osaka’s latest triumph follows her 2019 Australian Open win and 2018 and 2020 US Open victories.
The world No.3 had to save two match points in the fourth round last week against 2020 Open runner-up Garbine Muguruza.
But it’s been plain sailing for Osaka ever since, world sport’s highest-paid female athlete of 2020 not dropping another set for the tournament.
Osaka made a blazing start to the final, opening the match with an ace, holding serve to love and applying immediate pressure on Brady’s.
Clearly nervous, having admitting to also feeling super tight during her semi- final win over Karolina Muchova, Brady double-faulted twice while dropping serve at love in the fourth game as Osaka opened up a 3-1 lead.
But Osaka handed the advantage straight back with a double fault herself, then meekly putting a backhand into the bottom half of the net as the pair’s unforced error count continued to mount.
By the time Brady dumped what should have been an easy put-away forehand into the net on set point to gift Osaka the opening set, the American had committed 18 unforced errors in 10 games.
Osaka wasn’t much better, committing 15, while striking only eight winners to Brady’s 10.
Boasting a perfect 20-from-20 record at the Open after winning the first set, the title was as good as Osaka’s 41 minutes into the final.
The world No.3 broke Brady twice more to charge to a 4-0 lead in the second set.
Despite dropping serve at 4-0, Osaka was never really threatened and clinched the title on her first match point, serving out the contest to love.