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Serena loses a Grand Slam & more

Serena loses a Grand Slam & more

For one of the greatest players in tennis history, it was a sad final for Serena Williams. Naomi Osaka won her first Grand Slam title on Saturday, beating her in a controversial US Open final that saw the American docked a game after calling the umpire a "thief." It was the latest in a string of events that made this has been the most eventful Grand Slam ever, what with the insufferable heat, a new heat rule for the men, chair umpires intervening in play, one of the biggest upsets in tournament history and the mid-match retirement of Rafael Nadal. Osaka prevailed against her idol 6-2, 6-4 in New York to deny Williams a record 24th major, and first as a mom, and become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. The 20-year-old indeed made history for Japan but the final will be remembered as much, if not more, for Williams clashing with chair umpire Carlos Ramos in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Ramos first gave Williams, 36, a code violation warning for coaching in the second game of the second set. Williams approached the net and told Ramos: "I don't cheat. I'd rather lose. Every time I play here I have problems." Williams may have been referring to the US Open in 2009, when she received a point penalty against Kim Clijsters in the semifinals, deemed to have verbally abused a linesperson, and was called for hindrance for yelling during a point in the 2011 final against Sam Stosur. Even before then, a bad call went against Williams in the 2004 quarterfinals against Jennifer Capriati, a match that served to speed up the use of Hawk-Eye in tennis. Williams earned a point penalty Saturday for cracking her racket when broken for 3-2 in the second and subsequently was docked a game, to trail 5-3,for what Ramos deemed to be verbal abuse towards him. "You stole a point from me and you are a thief," Williams said during a changeover at 3-4, to prompt the ruling. Both the tennis legend and the match referee could have kept their cool. But that was not to be. Williams also pleaded her case to tournament referee having demanded the presence of the officials on court. "There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I'm a woman, you're going to take this away from me?" Williams asked. The US Open, in a statement, said Ramos' decision was final and not reviewable. Women's governing body the WTA, meanwhile, released a statement in the aftermath of the brouhaha on Ashe, saying that Williams "plays with class." True, that. Osaka won. But tennis lost its class in the final.

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