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Japan celebrates Osaka's history-making 1st Grand Slam title

Naomi Osaka's grandfather, Tetsuo Osaka, is seen in Nemuro, Hokkaido, on Sept. 9, 2018. (Mainichi)
Naomi Osaka poses with the trophy after winning the U.S. Open in New York on Sept. 8, 2018. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan rejoiced on Sunday after Naomi Osaka won the country's first singles Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, with her family and compatriots expressing great pride in her achievement.

"I am just happy," Osaka's grandfather Tetsuo said.

Speaking to reporters in front of his home in Nemuro, Hokkaido, the 73-year-old and his wife were ecstatic after watching their granddaughter's win on television.

After the match, he said Osaka called to tell them about the win.

Tetsuo said he hopes that the performance of Osaka -- who has ties with Hokkaido as her mother hails from Nemuro -- would lift the local people who are still reeling from the recent earthquake disaster.

Hokkaido was hit by a powerful earthquake earlier this week, leaving 35 dead, as per the latest count.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took to Instagram to praise Osaka's accomplishment. "At difficult times like now, thank you for the energy and inspiration," his message reads.

At the Tokyo head office of Nissin Foods Holdings Co., one of Osaka's sponsors, about 150 people watched the match on a large-screen television.

Among those gathered was 35-year-old Shuichi Fukushima, whose voice had gone hoarse from cheering.

"I am touched," he said. "(She) inspired Japan at a time the country is reeling from the aftermath of the Hokkaido quake and torrential rain in western Japan."

People in Haiti, the homeland of Osaka's father, were also celebrating the win.

"We are proud of her," Mac Keven Frederic, 45, said. "With this victory, many young Haitian women will take up tennis."

Osaka's victory is an "honor" for us, as it proves that people from smaller countries can still triumph, another Haitian man, Hilario Batista Felix, 63, said.

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