Naomi Osaka is the queen of the bubble.
Two years after her championship victory over Serena Williams, the 22-year-old Osaka recovered from an ugly first set to pound Victoria Azarenka in Saturday’s US Open final, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
It represents Osaka’s third major championship, and second at Flushing. The first was Osaka’s coming out party in front of a crowd that booed her victory because it felt Williams was cheated. Saturday’s atmosphere against Azarenka was much different: with the stadium about 98 percent empty due to the pandemic, the crowd reactions were muted and sometimes non-existent.
It was made for TV. And give the US Open credit — it pulled off a major tournament in a city that was once the epicenter of the pandemic.