By: Aaron Xiong
As the sun set on what was a very well organized tournament at this year’s Australian Open, one man and one woman walked away with the trophies. Leaving the competition in the dust was young phenom Naomi Osaka and the now 18 time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic.
Naomi Osaka took to Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night to take on Jennifer Brady. The two had just clashed at the 2020 U.S Open semi-finals in a three set thriller where Osaka prevailed and would eventually win the tournament. Despite their thrilling match at Flushing Meadows, this encounter was all Naomi Osaka. The 23 year old woman from Japan plowed her way through Brady as she finished the match with 6 aces, 40 points won on her serve, and converting 4/5 of the break point opportunities she had. Osaka took the match [6-4, 6-3] and won her fourth Grand Slam and second title at the Australian Open.
This win at the Australian Open is the second time where Osaka has won the last Grand Slam of the year, the U.S Open, and has followed it up with an Australian Open crown the next season. She first won the U.S Open in 2018 defeating Serena Williams and won the Australian Open in 2019 that next January.
Taking the stage on Championship Sunday for the men’s bracket was world number 1 and reigning champion Novak Djokovic. He would be taking on world number 4 Daniil Medvedev who hadn’t loss a match since November. The two have met on four different occasions with Medvedev winning three of the last four encounters. Despite being the 8 time Australian Open champion, Novak was only a slight favorite by the odds makers with a 58% – 42% advantage.
However, Novak let his game play do the talking and pummeled Medvedev in dramatic fashion. After an entertaining first set which saw Djokovic win it at 7-5, it was all downhill from there. Medvedev had broken the Djokovic serve early before eventually getting broken back and losing 6 out of the next 7 games to lose the set 2-6. The Russian phenom had started to lose his mojo late in the second set as he began talking to himself more and yelling at his coach’s box as well as himself. The second set ended with a broken racquet from Medvedev while Novak cruised to a two sets to none lead.
The third set was much of the same as the typically mentally strong Medvedev had a melt down on Rod Laver Arena. Missing the easy shots and losing point after point, Medvedev couldn’t find his rhythm that he possessed early in the match. With several unforced errors and the world number four’s first serve percentage dropping, Novak Djokovic pounced on the opportunities presented to him and easily dispatched of Medvedev in three sets [7-5, 6-2, 6-2].
With his win at this year’s Australian Open, Novak Djokovic has become on the second man in history with at least 9 titles at a single Grand Slam event with the first man being Rafael Nadal who has 13 French Open titles. Djokovic had also completed a second successful three-peat after winning the Australian Open from 2011-2013 and yet again from 2019-2021. With yet another Norman Brookes Trophy to add to the collection, there’s no telling when someone will end the legend’s reign in Melbourne.
With the Australian Open over, several key takeaways presented themselves following this year’s open. Australia was able to flatten the COVID-19 curve and allowed a nearly a full house of fans for both the men’s and women’s finals as well as fans for most of the two week tournament. By doing their part to stop the spread of the virus, Australia has seemingly returned to normal with very few cases popping up around their country. With an event that is televised worldwide, other countries could learn a thing or two from Australia and hopefully turn the tide against COVID in their neck of the woods.