US Open Day 13: Osaka wins third major title

  • Matt Trollope

Naomi Osaka staged a remarkable comeback to defeat Victoria Azarenka for her third Grand Slam title.

Trailing by a set and a break, the fourth seed completed a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory to win her second US Open trophy in three years.

Diede De Groot joined Osaka in the winner’s circle on Saturday in New York by winning a third straight US Open wheelchair singles crown, while Australia's Dylan Alcott and Briton Andy Lapthorne took the quad doubles title.

Osaka reigns supreme

If the first set was anything to go by, a victory for Osaka looked anything but likely.

Azarenka began at an extremely high level, landing almost 100 per cent of first serves and playing relentlessly from the baseline.

She raced through the first set in 26 minutes, committing just three unforced errors as an increasingly desperate Osaka began to overhit. 

Azarenka moved ahead 6-1, 2-0, 40-30, but by this point Osaka had begun to clean up her game.

Far less error-prone, yet with more sting in her shots, the Japanese star reeled off seven of the next eight games.

And when she broke the Belarusian in the fourth game of the final set, courtesy of a powerful off-backhand, she looked irrepressible.

Osaka held four break points for a 5-1 lead, until Azarenka dug in and rallied, and in one final push the former world No.1 broke back to close the gap to 3-4. 

Despite her visible frustration, Osaka refocused and outhit Azarenka, winning a thrilling final point to seal victory in one hour, 53 minutes.

Reaction to Osaka's triumph

Naomi Osaka (L) and Victoria Azarenka meet at net after the US Open final, which Osaka won in three sets. (Getty Images)

Quotes of the day

"I actually don't wanna play you in more finals." (laughter)
- Naomi Osaka in response to Victoria Azarenka, who earlier in the trophy ceremony said she hoped the pair would meet in more finals.

"It was a really tough match for me. And it's really inspiring for me, because I used to watch you play here, when I was younger. So just to have the opportunity to play you is really great, and I learned a lot, so thank you.”
- Osaka to Azarenka

“I thought the third time was a charm, but I guess I'll have to try again.” 
- Azarenka, who also lost US Open finals in 2012 and 2013.

"I always see everyone sort of collapse after match point, but I always think, you may injure yourself, so I wanted to do it safely." (laughter)
- Osaka, who gently laid down on the court following her US Open victory

"I just thought it would be very embarrassing to lose this in under an hour, so I just have to try as hard as I can and stop having a really bad attitude.”
- Osaka, who trailed by a set and a break, after becoming the first woman since 1994 to win the US Open title after losing the first set.

Stats of the day 

While one player’s winning streak was going to end, another’s would extend.

In a rematch of their recent Western & Southern Open at the same venue – which never eventuated, given Osaka’s hamstring injury – both Osaka and Azarenka entered the US Open women's final on double-digit winning streaks.

Azarenka’s loss ended hers at 11, while Osaka improved hers to 11, her last defeat coming in Fed Cup play back in February.

Osaka is now 3-0 in Grand Slam finals, becoming the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2002 to win her first three major finals.

The others on that Open Era list? Virginia Wade, Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport.

No.1 seed Diede De Groot celebrates her victory in the US Open women's wheelchair singles final over Yui Kamiji. (Getty Images)

De Groot wins women’s wheelchair title

Dutchwoman De Groot defended her title with a straight-sets win over Japan’s Yui Kamiji in a battle of the tournament’s top two seeds.

No.1 seed De Groot got the better of her rival, winning 6-3 6-3 at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

This marked the fourth straight year in which De Groot and Kamiji have clashed in the final at Flushing Meadows, and three times in a row that De Groot has emerged victorious.

Kamiji had been playing for her second straight major title after claiming the silverware at AO 2020.

Alcott returns to quad final

Alcott and Lapthorne combined to retain the quad doubles title with a 3-6 6-4 [10-8] victory over Dutchman Sam Schroder and David Wagner of the US.

In the men’s doubles final, Brits Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid won their fourth straight US Open trophy as a duo with a 6-4 6-1 win over French second seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer.

Alcott beat David Wagner in three sets to finish with a 3-0 record after the round-robin stage of the quad singles tournament.

The two-time US Open champion advances to the final in New York for the third straight year, with his most recent title coming in 2018.

In the final he will face wildcard Schroder, who beat defending champion Lapthorne to finish second in the round-robin standings.

Day 14: ones to watch

The final day of US Open 2020 is headlined by the men’s singles final, where a new Grand Slam champion will be crowned – either Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev.

Thiem is playing in his fourth major final yet first in New York, where he takes on a Grand Slam final debutant in Zverev.

ORDER OF PLAY: US Open Day 14

Prior to that match at Arthur Ashe Stadium is the women’s wheelchair doubles final, while Armstrong hosts the men’s and quad wheelchair singles finals.

Top seed Shingo Kunieda faces defending champion Alfie Hewett in the men’s final while world No.1 Dylan Alcott will be playing for his third US Open title – and 11th major singles trophy – when he clashes with Dutch wildcard Sam Schroder in the quad final.