Japan’s Naomi Osaka shines to claim second Australian Open crown

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 20: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the Trophy after defeating Jennifer Brady of the United States in the women's singles final, during day 13 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 20, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 20: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates with the Trophy after defeating Jennifer Brady of the United States in the women’s singles final, during day 13 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 20, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka beat Jennifer Brady in Grand Slam tennis as she cruised to a 6-4, 6-3 win to secure her second Australian Open title on Saturday.

Osaka’s victory over the 22nd-seeded American at a floodlit Rod Laver Arena gave the Japanese third seed her fourth major crown at the age of 23.

She preserves her 100 percent record in Grand Slam finals after winning the 2018 and 2020 US Opens and the 2019 title in Melbourne.

The reigning US Open champion, who beat her idol, Serena Williams, in the Melbourne semi-finals, has now won two of the last three Grand Slams as her status and reputation soars.

Osaka played some way short of her best tennis and joined Brady in contributing to a dour, error-strewn first set.

But she settled to clinch six straight games, roaring to a 4-0 lead in the second before serving out the match to love.

Osaka wore down fellow big-hitter Brady and then lifted her racquet above her head in celebration of her win as the crowd roared.

Naomi Osaka offered Brady warm congratulations and thanked the fans at the trophy ceremony.

“When we played in the semis of the U.S. Open, a couple of months ago, and I told everyone that ‘Listen you’re going to be a problem’. And I was right,” said Osaka, who will be world number two when the rankings are updated.

“It feels really incredible for me. I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans so just to have this energy it really means a lot.”

(with input from agencies)

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