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Naomi Osaka’s triumph at the Australian Open has suggested that has torch of dominance in women’s tennis has been passed to the Japanese from the great Serena Williams. The American had been an unstoppable force in her career since her breakout season in 2002. Williams’ record has been incredible, winning an astounding 23 Grand Slam singles’ crowns along with another 14 in doubles. The 37-year-old has surpassed the greats of the game, including Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Chris Evert.
Only Margaret Court has more Grand Slam crowns than the American, although the majority of her titles came before the Open Era. Williams has defined herself as arguably the greatest player in the history of the women’s game due to her consistency and longevity. Even after having a break from the game to give birth to her first child, she remained on top of her game to return to the finals of Wimbledon and US Open. However, Angelique Kerber and Osaka bested her in the two finals, while a quarter-final exit ended her Australian Open to start 2019. It remains to be seen whether the legend has one more run to a Grand Slam final to match Court’s achievement.
Williams remains one of the leading contenders for the slams for the rest of the campaign, although the French Open has not been a truly dominant venue for the American. The 37-year-old will be desperately eyeing another run at Wimbledon, where she has won seven of her 23 titles. Navratilova has nine crowns at the All England Club, but it would not be a surprise to see Williams pull within one of the Russian. She is backed at 15/4 to triumph this summer with MoPlay’s betting odds, although it be will be worth monitoring their value. Williams will be in the heat of the battle throughout the tournament and has displayed a propensity to battle back from deficits. MoPlay offer a variety of values, including live betting odds which change to reflect the tone and performance of the players during their matches. Williams is often dominant on the court, which affects her value, but it could be worth an eye or two should she ever go down a set early in a contest given her propensity for a comeback.
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Osaka is the leading player on the rise. The 21-year-old made her breakthrough last season in the US Open. Osaka had never previously advanced beyond round four of a major in 10 attempts, but at Flushing Meadows, she began a surge to the final. The Japanese defeated Madison Keys in the semi-finals in straight sets before her showdown with Williams. The contest between the two players proved to be controversial as Williams quarrelled with umpire Carlos Ramos, earning a code violation that cost her a game in the second set. Amid the drama, Osaka held her nerve to win her first Grand Slam. Her crowning moment was slightly overshadowed by the antics of Williams – a rare blemish on the career of the American on court.
The two players appeared to be on a collision course once again in the Australian Open. However, Williams’ defeat in the quarter-final to Karolína Pliskova prevented another duel in the semi-finals. Osaka notched her second Grand Slam crown with a victory in three sets over Petra Kvitova, moving in her line with the pace set for major victories in the early stages of her career. The slams in the rest of the season could well dictate whether the torch in women’s tennis has been passed for good.