Women’s Tennis: 2021 Australian Open Recap

Naomi Osaka wins the 2021 Australian Open

The 2021 Australian Open Tournament came to a conclusion on February 21 with Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka capturing her fourth women’s singles Grand Slam title. Osaka took down Jennifer Brady, who was representing the United States, and won her 2nd Australian Open title. Osaka won her first Australian Open in 2019 when she defeated Petra Kvitová from Czech Republic.

It was an exciting Australian Open tournament with several amazing moments from start to finish. Serena Williams tied the legendary Chris Evert’s all-time record of most Grand Slam quarterfinals, by reaching her 54th since turning pro back in 1995. Hsieh Su-wei became the first Taiwanese player to make a Grand Slam singles quarterfinal, where she eventually lost to Osaka in straight sets.

Osaka vs. Williams

Perhaps the most exciting moment from the entire tournament was the semi-final round where Osaka faced off against her idol in Williams. Osaka took on the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion for the first time in a Grand Slam event since the 2018 US Open final, where Osaka won her first career title. This time around though, Williams was listed as the underdog. The Compton-native was listed as 11th on the WTA Singles Rankings list, whereas Osaka was ranked 3rd going into the match.

It was an exciting match that ultimately resulted in Williams losing 6-4, 6-3. Williams, who is 16 years Osaka’s senior, was having a great tournament run in the preceding rounds to the semi-finals. But Williams lost her momentum late in the first set, which Osaka quickly took advantage of. The limited amount of people that were present in the crowd were mostly supporting Williams for the duration of the match, but they still cheered for Osaka at the conclusion.

Final Round

The final round between Osaka and Brady went exactly as expected with Osaka dominating the match 6-4, 6-3. Brady held her own by forcing an extra game at the end of the second set, but was unable to register in the closing game. This was the first Grand Slam final for Brady, who jumped to 13th on the WTA Singles Rankings list after being ranked 22nd before playing against Osaka. Brady, who is only 25 years old, is quickly rising the ranks in the tennis world and is poised to continue performing at a high level for the duration for the 2021 WTA Tour.


Looking ahead to the 2021 French Open

The next Grand Slam tournament is the 2021 French Open which will begin on May 17, 2021. Osaka has yet to win a Grand Slam title on a non-hard court as she only has titles in the US Australian Open tournaments. The French Open is played on a clay court in Paris and the furthest Osaka has gotten is the 3rd round in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Following her victory in Australia, Osaka said, “I have this mentality that people don’t remember the runners up. You might, but the winner’s name is the one that’s engraved.” 

Although playing on the clay court in Paris or the grass court at Wimbledon is not her strength, she will surely ride this confidence as it is at an all time high after taking home two consecutive Grand Slam titles. Osaka will look to win her 3rd straight Grand Slam and first French Open this coming May.