Naomi Osaka: US Open champion’s career in pictures
7:31 AM EDT, Tue September 11, 2018
- After turning professional in September 2013, Osaka made her WTA main-draw debut at the 2014 Bank of the West Classic. The then 16-year-old showed her promise by defeating former grand slam champion Samantha Stosur in her opening match. The eventual winner of that tournament? Serena Williams.
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- Fast forward a year and the young Japanese player was beginning to work her way up the world rankings. She ended 2015 by winning the 2015Rising Stars Invitational exhibition, defeating Caroline Garcia in the final.
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- Osaka reached her first grand slam at the 2016Australian Open. The 18-year-old qualifier progressed to the the third round, before being roundly beaten by eventual winner Victoria Azarenka. Osaka went on to reach the third round at both Rolland Garros and the US Open later that year.
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- Osaka finished 2016 by reaching her first WTA final. After being handed a wildcard to compete at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, the youngster (left) finished runner-up behind Caroline Wozniacki (right). The successful year yielded rich rewards for Osaka. She broke into the world Top 50, signed a worldwide marketing agreement and was voted newcomer of the year at the WTA Awards.
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- Osaka built on her breakthrough 2016 by playing in all four grand slams in 2017. Performing consistently on the biggest stage enabled the youngster to test herself against the world elite. Perhaps her most notable victory came in the first round of the 2017 US Open. Osaka defeated defending champion Angelique Kerber in straight sets, before being knocked out in the third round.
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- After achieving her best grand slam finish at the 2018 Australian Open (fourth round), Osaka won her first WTA title at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells. She cemented herself as a future star with wins against former world No.1's Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep on her way to victory.
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- In March 2018, Osaka was pitted against her tennis hero for the first time, in the first round of the Miami Open. It was Serena's fourth comeback match since giving birth and Osaka ran away with a comfortable straight sets victory.
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- The pair then met for a second time, at the 2018US Open final. Serena was aiming for her 24th Grand Slam title and Osaka was competing in her first grand slam final. Amid controversy involving her opponent and the umpire, the 20-year-old Japanese star deservedly won in straight sets for her biggest career win to date, earning $3.8 million in the process.
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