Williams’s outburst overshadowed an outstanding performance from Osaka, who made her second career title a Grand Slam after winning her first at Indian Wells in March.
A match with history at stake for both players got off to a tense start and it was Williams who blinked first, double-faulting on break point to give Osaka a 2-1 lead.
They came to life again as Williams gained her first break chance, which Osaka saved with a 117 mph service winner. Williams squandered one more chance before Osaka sealed the hold with another big serve.
– ‘I don’t cheat’ –
It was in the second game of the second set that Williams was warned for receiving coaching, a charge she vigorously denied.
“I don’t cheat to win,” she said. “I’d rather lose.”
Coach Patrick Mouratoglou admitted in an interview with ESPN that he was trying to advise her with a hand gesture, although Williams was apparently oblivious.
“The star of the show has been once again the chair umpire,” he tweeted.
“Should they be allowed have an influence on the result of a match? When do we decide that this should never happen again?”
Williams was up 2-1 on the changeover when she spoke again with Ramos appearing to smooth things over, and she finally found a way to break Osaka for a 3-1 lead.
The tranquility didn’t last long. When Osaka broke back with the aid of two double faults and a backhand into the net from Williams, the American smashed her racquet to the court. A second code violation came with a point penalty to start the next game that sent her into orbit.
“I didn’t get coaching. I haven’t cheated in my life. I stand for what’s right,” insisted Williams as they headed into the sixth game — in which Osaka held at love.
After Osaka broke for a 4-3 lead Williams continued her verbal assault on Ramos, who docked her a game for a third violation that put Osaka up 5-3.
The scene recalled Williams’s ugly rant at a line judge in her US Open semi-final loss to Kim Clijsters in 2009 and her verbal attack on chair umpire Eva Asderaki in her 2011 final loss to Samantha Stosur.
Williams said she didn’t know if she would have managed to turn things around if the dispute with Ramos had not occurred.
“It’s hard to say because I always fight till the end and I always try to come back, no matter what.”