After a straight-sets win over American Jennifer Brady on Saturday, Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open title in three years.
With a 6-4 6-3 victory over Brady, Osaka became the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four Grand Slam finals, retaining her perfect record in major finals.
Due to the temporary transition to a two-year rule, the 23-year-old remains behind Ashleigh Barty in the rankings, but Osaka is undoubtedly the best player in the world on hard courts, while only current players Serena and Venus Williams now hold more major titles.
“Osaka turned to Brady after stepping on the podium to collect the trophy and said: “First of all, I want to congratulate Jennifer. We played the US Open in the semi-finals and I told everyone who would listen that you’re going to be a challenge, and I was right. It’s very cool to see your development over the past few months.
I would like to thank my squad. I’ve been with them for so long, a month and some change. They’re like my family. Through my preparation, through my matches, through my anxious discussions before my matches, they’re the ones with me, and I’m very appreciative of them. This is for you.
“Lastly but not least, I want to thank you guys (the fans). Thank you for coming and watching. It feels really incredible. I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans so just to have this energy, it really means a lot.
“Thank you for opening your hearts and your arms towards us. For sure I feel like playing a Grand Slam right now is a super privilege and it’s something I won’t take for granted.”
Osaka’s Fed Cup defeat against little-known Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo proved to be a watershed moment for her because since that day last February, Osaka has won all 21 matches she has played, taking in a third Grand Slam title at the US Open and carrying her through a very tough draw to a fourth major title at Melbourne Park.
She saw off Serena Williams in straight sets in the semi-finals and she continued where she left off to defeat first-time Grand Slam finalist Brady to continue her dominance of the women’s game at majors.
Images from the final.