Naomi Osaka battled back from a set down to beat Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka to lift her second US Open title in three years with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory.
With the hardcourt major being staged without any fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Osaka did not let the unusual circumstances distract her as she produced an battling performance.
The 22-year-old already the highest-earning female athlete in the world, adds another £2.3million in prize money to her fortune.
She becomes the first Asian player to win three major titles, surpassing Chinese trailblazer Li Na.
Azarenka, mother of her three-year-old son, Leo, was making an improbable comeback at the age 31 against the Japanese sporting icon.
Azarenka, playing in her first Grand Slam final in seven years, came flying out of the traps to take a 2-0 before the fourth seed found some equilibrium to settle her nerves for an important hold of serve.
Some relentless ball hitting by Azarenka had Osaka in trouble and a second double fault from the Japanese contributed to a second break of serve.
The error count was mounting for Osaka, the champion in New York in 2018, on Arthur Ashe Stadium and it wasn’t long before Azarenka claimed a one-sided set in 26 minutes, breaking the Japanese star for a third time.
Azarenka maintained her momentum through the first two games of the second set but Osaka broke back for 2-1 and that proved to be a crucial moment.
A few errors had started to come from the Azarenka racket while Osaka, the more powerful player, was able to play points on her terms.
She forged into the lead in the set with a break for 4-3 and took her second set point to win it and send the final into a decider.
Azarenka dug extremely deep to prevent Osaka leading 5-1, and that prompted a wobble from the Japanese player, but she stood strong in the end to find a way to get the job done.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.