Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open for her fourth Grand Slam singles title in as many finals, dispatching American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 to cement her statuses as the world’s best hard-court player and the most clutch player in today’s game.
“Maybe later in my life I’ll appreciate the things that I’ve done more,” Osaka said after beating Serena Williams in the semi-finals. “But as of right now, I feel like I’m chasing records that can’t be broken no matter how hard I try.”
The 23-year-old is joining legends, though.
Osaka, who has won half of the last eight majors she’s entered, became the third player to win her first four major finals in the Open Era after Monica Seles and Margaret Court (who also won majors before the Open Era).
She became the ninth woman in the Open Era to win at least one major in four consecutive years, joining these names: King, Goolagong, Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles, Henin and Williams.
“I feel like Naomi Osaka is starting to form an aura around her now of almost invincibility,” on hard courts, Chris Evert said on ESPN. “Something we’ve seen for 20, 25 years with Serena.”
Osaka has won all 21 of her matches since tennis’ pandemic return last summer — and moved to 12-0 in quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals in her career at majors — in sweeping Brady in a rematch of their quality 2020 U.S. Open semi-final.
Brady, a strong server, was broken in her second service game while struggling to get her first serve in. Though the former UCLA Bruin broke right back, she netted a forehand unforced error on break point to hand Osaka the opening set.
Osaka then won the first four games of the second set en route to her second Australian Open title.
The only active women with more major titles — Serena Williams (23) and Venus Williams (7).
“I have this mentality that people don’t remember the runners-up,” Osaka said before the final. “You might, but the winner’s name is the one that’s engraved. I think I fight the hardest in the finals. I think that’s where you sort of set yourself apart.”