Serena Williams missed her opportunity to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles amid a spectacular meltdown at Flushing Meadows on Saturday evening. The 37-year-old was beaten in straight sets by Naomi Osaka, but all the focus in the aftermath of her defeat was on controversy that surrounded her being docked a game in the 2nd set by umpire Carlos Ramos.
That penalty was imposed after Williams accused the official of being ‘a thief’ and ‘a liar’ after he had docked her points for being coached from the sidelines and smashing a racquet. Williams had been expected to earn her seventh US Open title and draw level with Court in the record books, but she must now look to her next opportunity at January’s Australian Open, where she has previously won seven times.
On the positive side, the former world number one proved beyond doubt that she has regained her fitness and power, one year since becoming a mother for the first time. She is the clear favourite to win in Melbourne, at best odds of 5/1* with BetVictor, while Osaka has been cut from 40/1 to a best price of 20/1* with Betfred.
The 20-year-old, who was born in Japan but has lived in the United States since she was three, reached the fourth round in Australia this year – her best Grand Slam performance prior to her US Open victory.
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|