Second Australian Open – and fourth major – will not be the last shiny trophy engraved with her name
As a coral sun set behind the Melbourne skyline, Naomi Osaka walked to her mark, danced lightly on the balls of her feet, rapped her left thigh with her left fist two times and crouched, ready to receive Jennifer Brady’s serve. She did this over and over: jig, tap, dip; jig, tap, dip. It was a meditation that secured a second Australian Open title and a fourth grand slam for the dominant force in women’s tennis.
Both finalists powered through the draw behind dominant first serves, but an unexpectedly cool and blustery evening proved disruptive. The wind was not strong but it was capricious, darting around the Rod Laver Arena, spooking the contenders at their moment of focus. Neither player averaged more than 45% of their first serves during an opening set littered with apologetic waves for errant ball tosses.