Serena Williams wants to put US Open controversy behind her:
US Open champion Naomi Osaka dodged a dubious trend by reaching the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open last week. Only one other time in the last decade has a first-time Grand Slam champion on the women’s side done that well in their first tournament after winning their first Grand Slam title.
Since the start of 2008 there have been 15 first-time Grand Slam women’s champions, and Osaka’s just the second player to make it past the quarterfinals of their next WTA event. Here’s the complete list:
- Naomi Osaka: Won 2018 US Open (final at Tokyo)
- Simona Halep: Won 2018 French Open (third round at Wimbledon)
- Caroline Wozniacki: Won 2018 Australian Open (quarterfinals at St. Petersburg)
- Sloane Stephens: Won 2017 US Open (first round at Wuhan)
- Jelena Ostapenko: Won 2017 French Open (third round at Eastbourne)
- Garbine Muguruza: Won 2016 French Open (first round at Mallorca)
- Angelique Kerber: Won 2016 Australian Open (second round at Doha)
- Flavia Pennetta: Won 2015 US Open (third round at Beijing)
- Marion Bartoli: Won 2013 Wimbledon (third round at Toronto)
- Victoria Azarenka: Won 2012 Australian Open (won Doha and Indian Wells)
- Samantha Stosur: Won 2011 US Open (first round at Tokyo)
- Petra Kvitova: Won 2011 Wimbledon (third round at Cincinnati)
- Li Na: Won 2011 French Open (second round at Eastbourne)
- Francesca Schiavone: Won 2010 French Open (first round at Eastbourne)
- Ana Ivanovic: 2008 French Open (third round at Wimbledon)
Azarenka actually followed up her first Grand Slam title at the 2012 Australian Open with another 14 wins that brought her titles at Doha and Indian Wells and to the quarters of Miami.
Last week, Osaka was playing with extra pressure on home soil in Japan, making it an even more impressive feat that the 20-year-old extended her winning streak to 10 in a row before finally losing to Karolina Pliskova. So will there be more Grand Slam titles in Osaka’s future?
In an interview with Teen Vogue after winning the US Open, the Japanese star was asked what would happen if she told a younger version of herself that she would win the US Open at 20 years old.
“Surprisingly I think I would believe it, because this is something I’ve always dreamt about,” she said. “I feel like I’ve worked my whole life to get to this point and of course I want to keep doing better.”
Osaka is currently the No. 8-ranked player in the world and with barely any points to defend until next year’s Australian Open, she has a good chance of getting a Top 8 seed in Melbourne.