It all started in the second game of the second set, after Osaka had won the first set 6-2, when chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Serena a warning as he spotted her coach Patrick Mouratoglou making some hand signals from the player's box.
Williams was given the violation by Carlos Ramos of Portugal in the second game of the second set while Naomi Osaka was serving. The tennis star fired back at the umpire and told him, "I don't cheat to win".
"I said, I'd rather lose than have to cheat to win". "Even when I was a little kid, I always dreamed that I would play Serena in a final of a grand slam".
Mouratoglou says that "in 99 percent of the cases, he would have told Serena, 'I've seen your coach do a movement and tell him to stop, otherwise you'll have a warning".
Two years later, during a final loss to Sam Stosur, Williams called umpire Eva Asderaki "a hater" and "unattractive inside" for calling a hindrance penalty against her and was fined.
"This is a sport that gave us John McEnroe; the sport that gave us Ilie Năstase; Jimmy Connors; I could go on and on - men who have gotten away with far worse than saying 'You're a thief".
After their initial service holds in the second set, Serena held on to a very tough second service and immediately, broke Osaka to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Let's get this straight: all tennis players get coached from the sidelines in so many ways. "Let's make this the best moment we can". "So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing". "I said, 'want to be like her"'.
The headlines were supposed to be about Williams' bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title and Osaka trying to become Japan's first Slam victor, but instead Williams' argument with umpire Carlos Ramos that escalated dominated the match.
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The 2018 US Open final might be remembered as the one where Serena Williams, on her road back from maternity leave, found herself embroiled in controversy with officials once more; where she found herself docked a point and then a game; where she missed out on her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam. Osaka also beat Williams in March in Miami, shortly after Williams returned from a 14-month layoff after giving birth to daughter Olympia.
Osaka smiled and pulled her visor over her eyes.
When questioned about how hard it was to play through the situation, both at the other end of the court and with an unhappy and vocal crowd, Osaka was clearly upset.
On that day, too, the younger player prevailed.
Osaka's father Leonard Francois had no background in tennis but, inspired by Richard Williams' extraordinary success with his daughters, made a decision to try to repeat the story. Osaka converted four of five break point opportunities and saved five of six she faced.
And having been comforted by the American great, Osaka apologised to the fans and thanked Williams in an emotional speech. She has lost only 30 games in her seven matches. Then she was hit with a second violation for smashing a racquet after being broken.
The Asahi newspaper described how Osaka's unpretentious, sometimes humorous responses in post-match interviews and news conferences have won over spectators and journalists alike.