Serena Williams had a shot to make history on Saturday at the US Open, as a victory over Naomi Osaka in the women’s singles final would’ve given her 24 career Grand Slam singles titles, tying the all-time record held by Australia’s Margaret Court. However, the 20-year-old Osaka upset Williams to take home the first major victory of her pro career.
Her win was also historic in its own right, as Osaka becomes the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam final.
Osaka is now two for two in matches against Williams after beating her at the Miami Open in March earlier this year. On Saturday at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, Osaka took down Williams in consecutive sets, 6-2, 6-4.
Osaka got off to a commanding start in the first set, then prevailed in what turned out to be a controversial second set. As Serena was attempted to play herself back into the match, she was penalized a game because her coach was allegedly making hand signals, which results in code violation. Chair umpire Carlos Ramos leveled a game penalty for the coaching violation, which left Williams incensed.
She smashed her racket on the court, which resulted in another violation, before demanding an apology from Ramos.
“You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life! I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her,” Williams told Ramos on the court. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.”
“This has happened to me before. This is not fair. There are a lot of men out here who have said a lot of things and do not get that punishment. Because I am a woman you are going to take this away from me? That is not right.”
Shortly after, Williams surrendered that second set and the match went to Osaka.
For Williams, this is her second runner-up finish since returning to tennis following the birth of her daughter. She also finished second at Wimbledon this July, falling to Angelique Kerber in the final.