Serena Williams fans erupted on Saturday after the six-time U.S. Open champion lost the final to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, 6-2, 6-4, after being penalized both a point and a whole game in a dispute with chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
“This is ridiculous! Serena has been robbed!” HuffPost writer Yashar Ali tweeted (then subsequently deleted).
“What hasn’t changed is the way Serena Williams had been policed and disrespected since the moment she stepped on the court as a kid decorated with beaded braids,” added actress Anika Noni Rose.
Williams, who was barred from wearing a catsuit on court early in the tournament, broke down in tears in the second set as Ramos issued a series of code violations — beginning with a warning when her coach Patrick Mouratoglou signaled to her from his place in the stands, a mid-match coaching that is a violation of the rules (though seldom called by officials).
A second violation for her confrontation with Ramos led to the loss of a point. But she was docked an entire game when she confronted Ramos a second time: “You stole a point from me. You’re a thief too.”
That set the stage for Osaka, a 20-year-old who played brilliantly throughout the tournament, to serve out the second set for her first Grand Slam win.
Although Williams refused to shake Ramos’ hand after the match, she graciously congratulated Osaka, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Haitian father who has trained for years in Florida — and discouraged fans from booing during the awards ceremony.
Fans, however, were quick to cry foul for the way the match ended.
I deleted my previous tweet because people thought I was talking about the match…Naomi is amazing but this is so messed up…and so typical, the way Serena has been treated in certain quarters is so insulting https://t.co/olmhzT4TIB
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) September 8, 2018
— Anika Noni Rose (@AnikaNoniRose) September 8, 2018
Stand up for yourself regardless of the outcome. That’s the lesson I took away from @serenawilliams today.
— Rafranz Davis (@RafranzDavis) September 8, 2018
Osaka deserves every piece of the #USOpen title, but maaaaaaan they did Serena dirty.
— Nolan Lampson (@nolanlampson) September 8, 2018
And what y’all saw today was Serena’s #eloquentrage.
— Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk) September 8, 2018
Congratulations to Naomi for playing your very best today! What happened to @serenawilliams will resonate with women everywhere—especially women of color: too often, when we speak up, we are penalized. Serena, today you gave us just one more reason to admire you as the very best!
— Juliana Stratton (@RepStratton5) September 8, 2018
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) September 8, 2018
Happy for Osaka but Serena Williams was robbed for calling a judge a thief and the real loser of this match is irony.
— Sloane Crosley (@askanyone) September 8, 2018
The booing, and the way this final ended, isn’t fair to Osaka. She deserves this moment to be a positive memory. #USOpen
— Lauren Katz (@Laur_Katz) September 8, 2018
Carlos Ramos umpiring was a disservice to this match, Serena, Naomi Osaka and the sport.
— Aaron Randle (@aaronronel) September 8, 2018
this is absolutely awful and unfair to both of them https://t.co/EwxOzaGKeM
— Rawan (@rawan) September 8, 2018
— Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) September 8, 2018