Naomi Osaka has claimed her second Australian Open title after dispatching American Jennifer Brady in straight sets 6-4 6-3.
It was a clinical, coming-of-age performance for Osaka, who claimed her first grand slam from the position of being favourite – and the Japanese star lived up to expectations.
Breaking Brady early in the match, Osaka thwarted a brief comeback to take the first set, before putting her foot on the throat to take the match in an hour and 15 minutes.
Blustery conditions down on Rod Laver Arena wreaked havoc on both women’s games, but it was Osaka who was able to manage the hurdle and more consistently find her first serve in the big moments.
The win takes the 23-year-old’s grand slam tally to four, maintaining her perfect record in grand slam final appearances, and propelling the narrative of a “changing of the guard” between her and Seren Williams.
“She’s very much seen as the successor to Serena Williams who she beat once again a couple of nights ago out here on rod laver arena,” Nine’s Sam Smith said in commentary.
“Serena at 23-years of age had won six grand slam titles, she had already completed the ‘Serena Slam’, so Naomi has a little catching up to do, but she’s not too far off track.
“Surely this is what our sport needs, surely this is what women’s tennis needs – a winner who is going to be taking home major after major to elevate women’s tennis to the stratosphere that Williams has taken it to.”