Australian Open 2021: Osaka keeps getting big | sports

Jennifer Brady had achieved the most complicated thing, driving Naomi osaka towards the doubt, towards that only place that could add some question to what was seen coming: the second coronation of the Japanese in Melbourne. The American resisted for nine games with personality, face to face, until she suffered a slip, a small misstep that condemned her. There the final was broken. Bayonet in hand, the Japanese took advantage of the slip to sentence the first round and, in reality, a pulse that was broken there: 6-4 and 6-3, in 1h 17m. The rest was a breeze for the champion, who added her second Australian title and the fourth Grand Slam of a career that is beginning to take the shape of something truly great.

At 23, Osaka has definitely stepped up. On the carousel of the women’s circuit, she begins to set the pace and seems to accept the challenge of the relay, still with a generous margin of progression in her game. The progressive decline of Serena Williams coincides with her rise, reaffirmed with this latest success that expresses the determination of an increasingly dominant player. Of the last nine major titles at stake, the Japanese has won four: two in Melbourne (2019 and 2020) and another two in New York (2018 and 2020).

Osaka does not fail in a grand final, four out of four so far. And that in recent times had been paid to the chimes. There are the Andreescu, Swiatek or without going any further the American Kenin, who triumphed last year in Melbourne and this year fell to the first round in this tournament that Osaka has controlled from end to end. In perspective, the Japanese only had a moment of trouble, when Garbiñe Muguruza forced her to lift two match balls and was one tris from getting off in the eighth. The rest, a display of power, serve, resources and speed. There is no right like yours.

Brady held him for almost the entire first set. The American, an orthodox tennis player cultivated in the university and who has been going strong – she signed the semifinals at the last US Open – put up a commendable resistance until she skated. He had the option to break for 5-4 and serve to close the set, but he was unsuccessful, Osaka prevented him and then the world three slapped him open-handed, snatching the serve and, consequently, opening an insurmountable gap. From there, the Japanese sailed at will, 4-0 from the start in the continuation, and then put the lace without allowing any fright.

Serving close to 200 km / h, the statistic also says that it was accurate when it should (4/5 in break balls) and that Brady was also penalized for 18 errors in the initial round. In this way, Osaka continues at the rate of great per year. Since her emergence in 2018 until now, the Japanese has obtained four majors and is the fourth active player to reach that figure together with Serena (23), Venus Williams (7) and the Belgian Kim Klijsters (4), who returned the year passed to the circuits.

At her age, Serena had already achieved two more, six. But if anyone can pick up the baton from the North American, it is her, a devastating tennis player, with an aggressive style and that beyond the courts is a reef. Represented by the multinational IMG, she collects sponsors, engages new generations by her image and her ease in social networks, and is already the athlete with the highest income; 34.2 million, according to the latest study in Forbes magazine. Its significance, however, goes further.

Of multiracial origin — a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, rejected by her family for being black — Osaka has raised his voice in the last year. Coinciding with several episodes of police brutality and murders in the United States, he has become an activist and has been the image of the most prestigious publications in his country as an icon of multiculturalism. “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman and, as a black woman, I feel that there are much more important issues than watching me play tennis,” said in September, when African American Jacob Blake was shot in Wisconsin.