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.
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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.
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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
What hasn't changed is the way @SerenaWilliams had been policed and disrespected since the moment she stepped on the court as a kid decorated with beaded braids. #USOpen
— 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 ⁷ (@RafranzDavis) September 8, 2018
And what y’all saw today was Serena’s #eloquentrage.
— Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk) September 8, 2018
After a controversial penalty against @serenawilliams at the #USOpen2018, she showed how to be a real sport, a total class act and a great champion.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) 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
Me for Serena. #USOpen2018 pic.twitter.com/W7W5QkT8z9
— Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) September 8, 2018