Naomi Osaka clinches 2nd US Open Grand Slam title

The US Open champion Naomi Osaka and the finalist Victoria Azarenka

Naomi Osaka, the US Open champion and the finalist Victoria Azarenka

Naomi Osaka, the US Open champion and the finalist Victoria Azarenka

Naomi Osaka fought back from a bruising first set loss to overcome Belarusian Victoria Azarenka to win her second US Open Grand Slam title, in three years.

After shaking off a 1-6 thrashing in the first set, the Japanese star rallied to beat her opponent 6-3 6-3 in the last two sets, to win the championship.

It was her third Grand Slam victory, in all.

The victory allowed the 22-year-old to maintain her 100% winning record in Grand Slam finals while Azarenka was denied a U.S. Open crown for a third time having also finished runner-up in 2012 and 2013.

Still it was a remarkable and unexpected run for the 31-year-old Belarusian, who was playing in her first major final in seven years.

It marked the first time since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1994 that a player had dropped the first set of the women’s final and fought back to win the title.

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Azarenka took the first set in 26 minutes, after breaking a sluggish Osaka twice.

But in the second set, Osaka shook off a 0-2 deficit to rally and win the set 6-3, forcing a decider, which she also won with same margin.

“For me, 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 said of her turnaround after the first set.

In her on-court interview, Azarenka congratulated Osaka and said: “I thought the third time was a charm but I guess I’ll have to try again. I’m very happy for you and I hope we can meet in some more finals again.”

Not missing a beat, Osaka responded with a smile: “I want to congratulate Vika. I actually don’t want to play you in more finals. I didn’t really enjoy that, it was a really tough match for me.

“It’s really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger so just to have the opporunity to play you is really great.”

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