‘Damn, I’m almost crying’ – Naomi Osaka becomes lowest-ranked WTA Miami Open finalist ever
Naomi Osaka is into her first Miami Open final and first WTA tour final of any kind for over 13 months.
She downed 22nd seed Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 for her first win in four attempts over the Swiss.
Being ranked 77th coming into the event, Osaka is now the lowest-ranked WTA singles finalist in the history of the Miami Open.
Osaka, who lives and trains in Florida, wanted to make clear just how grateful she was to reach the championship match.
She said to the crowd: “I just wanted to say thank you everyone, the atmosphere was really good.
“Damn, I’m almost crying, anyways.
“This tournament really means a lot to me.
“It’s my first time in the final here so I’m really thankful and it’s been a while since I’ve been in a final.
“I think Australian Open last year [was the last time].”
That was indeed the last time Osaka reached a WTA tour final, where she defeated Jennifer Brady to claim her fourth Slam title.
Her last final at WTA 1000 level came more than 18 months ago at the 2020 Cincinnati Open ahead of the US Open, where Osaka claimed her third Major title.
“Thank you guys so much and I really love you from the bottom of my heart so thank you,” she continued to the stadium spectators.
Osaka’s run to the final means she will climb back up into the WTA top 40 to a ranking of at least 36th.
Should she win the final she would be ranked 30th come the next rankings update on Monday.
Osaka will face either 16th seed Jessica Pegula or incoming world number one Iga Swiatek.
The latter is on a win streak of 15 matches and, after winning Indian Wells earlier in March, has the elusive ‘Sunshine Double’ in her sights.
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