Tennis: Western and Southern Open

Aug 14, 2019; Mason, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts against Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports Content Exchange

Extending her perfect record in Grand Slam finals, third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan beat No. 22 Jennifer Brady of the United States 6-4, 6-3 to win the Australian Open title in Melbourne on Saturday.

It's the fourth Grand Slam title for Osaka in as many finals. She won the first three: the 2018 U.S. Open (beating Serena Williams in the final), the 2019 Australian Open and the 2020 U.S. Open.

Osaka's latest title puts the 23-year-old in esteemed company. She's the first woman to win her first four Grand Slam finals since Monica Seles did it in 1990-91 and the first player overall since Roger Federer in 2003-04.

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"Well, my reaction is that that's very amazing company," Osaka said. "I hope that I can, have, like, one grain of how their career has unfolded. But, you can only wish and you can only just keep going down your own path. But, yeah, it's definitely something crazy to hear."

Brady was playing in her first Grand Slam final and lauded Osaka afterward.

"She knows what she's doing out there," Brady said. "She's confident in herself, her game, her team."

While the match was close early on, with Brady blowing a chance to seize control at 4-4, 40-15, Osaka reeled off six straight games to establish control. She converted four of five break opportunities and staved off two of the four chances by Brady.

"You don't go into a final wanting to be the runner-up. For me, I feel like every opportunity that I play a Slam is an opportunity to win a Slam," Osaka said. "So I think maybe I put that pressure on myself too much, but honestly, it's working out in my favor right now."

Brady's previous best finish in a Grand Slam was at the 2020 US Open, where she lost a three-setter to Osaka in the semifinal.

"I have mixed feelings," said Brady, who will move up to No. 13 in the new rankings next week. "I'm pretty proud of myself, my team, for what we achieved here. We came here and I reached my first Grand Slam final."

Osaka -- on a 21-match winning streak -- will rise to No. 2, behind Australia's Ashleigh Barty.

--Field Level Media

This article originally ran on Content Exchange

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