Naomi Osaka overcomes 26-minute first-set nightmare to beat Victoria Azarenka in US Open women’s final

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Naomi Osaka 2020 US Open champion

Naomi Osaka overcame a nightmare start to beat Victoria Azarenka in three sets in the US Open women’s final, securing her third Grand Slam title in the process.

The match threatened to be a lopsided affair after the unseeded Azarenka produced a blistering start to blow the below par Osaka away 6-1 in the first set.

However, Osaka eventually found her rhythm and turned things around to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in just under two hours.

Osaka leathered the ball from the word go, but it was Azarenka who broke in the opening game and hammered home the advantage with two more breaks to take the opener 6-1.

The Belarusian was brilliant in the opener and she missed just one of her first serves.

And it looked like Azarenka would continue her onslaught in the second set as she broke in game two to go 2-0 up and then found herself 30-40 up in the third game.

However, Osaka finally got going as she broke back immediately and then held serve to level it up at 2-2.

After a relatively easy Azarenka hold, Osaka turned the screws as she won four games in a row to draw level at one set each. The third break of serve in the set in game nine was a knockout punch a 15-point game.

Osaka started the deciding set confidently while Azarenka produced more unforced errors and it was no surprise when 22-year-old found herself with two break points in game four. Azarenka managed to save the first one, but the pressure told and she was broken.

But Osaka barely had time to settle after taking a 3-1 lead as she soon found herself 0-40 on her own serve, but somehow managed to hold.

Azarenka again struggled with her own serve and Osaka had three break points for an insurance policy second break, but the veteran managed to hold her off.

But we were back on serve in the next game as it was the Japanese player’s turn to produce a string of unforced errors.

Yet 4-3 quickly turned into 5-3 as Osaka broke for a second time in the decider and this time there was no comeback for Azarenka as the 22-year-old held serve to wrap up the match.

The win earned Osaka her third Grand Slam title following her successes at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.

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