Osaka breakthrough, Hegerberg's Ballon d'Or: Women's sport in 2018

From Naomi Osaka's triumph to Ada Hegerberg's Ballon d'Or, here are the ten greatest moments from women's sport in 2018.

Lyon striker and Norway international Hegerberg, 23, became the first ever female winner of the Ballon d'Or.   -  AFP

Mikaela Shiffrin and Alina Zagitova starred in Pyeongchang to claim Olympic golds, before Naomi Osaka announced her arrival at the top echelon of tennis in style as gymnast Simone Biles rediscovered her best.

Here are the ten greatest moments from women's sport in 2018:

Groundbreaking Kim - February 12

-- American Chloe Kim, then only 17, went into the women's Olympic snowboarding halfpipe competition as a red-hot favourite and did not disappoint. She finished almost 10 points clear of China's silver medallist Liu Jiayu, becoming the youngest woman to land two consecutive 1,080-degree spins at an Olympics.

Chloe Kim poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the snowboard women's Halfpipe during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.   -  AFP

 

Zagitova dazzles - February 23

-- Figure skater Zagitova produced a series of jaw-dropping displays in the 2017/18 season, culminating in a magnificent gold-medal winning performance in Pyeongchang at the age of just 15. The Russian broke the world record in the short programme and narrowly held off compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva after a dramatic free skate competition.

Gold medal winner Alina Zagitova poses with her friend, compatriot, training partner and arch rival Evgenia Medvedeva, who finished second to win the silver medal.   -  Getty Images

 

Shiffrin dominates - March 17

-- Alpine skiing star Shiffrin sealed her second straight overall World Cup title in style, signing off with a 12th victory of the season in the closing slalom in Are, Sweden. The 23-year-old Olympic giant slalom champion has already opened up a 501-point gap in the new campaign after taking her staggering haul of World Cup career wins to 50.

Mikaela Shiffrin poses on the podium after winning gold in women's Giant Slalom at 2018 Winter Olympic Games.   -  AFP

 

Lyon's third in a row - May 24

-- Lyon won its third straight women's Champions League crown with a 4-1 extra-time victory over Wolfsburg in Kiev. The French side was held to a goalless draw in 90 minutes, but Norwegian star Ada Hegerberg was among the scorers as it netted four times in the extra half-hour to add to its 2016 and 2017 titles.

Ariya hangs on - June 3

-- Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn overcame a back-nine collapse to grab her second major title at the US Open. The 23-year-old led by seven shots at the halfway stage of the final round before dropping five shots in the closing holes, only to edge out South Korea's Kim Hyo-joo in a play-off. Ariya will end the year as the world number one.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn poses with her US Open title.   -  Getty Images

 

Asher-Smith's flying treble - August 12

-- Britain's Dina Asher-Smith delivered on her undoubted potential with a stunning treble of 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds at the European athletics championships in Berlin. The then 22-year-old set new world leads and national records in both the individual events, clocking 10.85sec and 21.89sec in the 100 and 200 respectively.

Osaka stuns Serena - September 8

-- Japanese youngster Osaka announced herself on the world stage by lengthening Serena Williams' wait for a record-equalling 24th tennis Grand Slam singles title. The 21-year-old overpowered the home favourite 6-2, 6-4 to take her first major tournament victory, although the match was overshadowed by Williams' infamous outburst at umpire Carlos Ramos.

Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the championship trophy after winning the Women's Singles final against Serena Williams.   -  AFP

 

Biles back to her best - November 1

-- Over two years since winning four gold medals at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, pocket dynamo Biles claimed four titles at the artistic gymnastics world championships. The American, who took a one-year hiatus in 2017, suffered with kidney stones the night before the qualification rounds in Doha, but brushed that aside to clinch a record fourth all-around world crown.

Biles claimed four titles at the artistic gymnastics world championships.   -  Getty Images

 

Australia back on top - November 24

-- Australia's women's cricket team won a record-extending fourth World Twenty20 title in the Caribbean, ending a brief barren spell. They avenged their 2016 final loss to the West Indies in the last four, before thrashing England by eight wickets to lift the trophy.

Meg Lanning, the captain of Australia, receives the trophy from Sir Vivian Richards at the end of the ICC Women’s World T20 final cricket match against England in Antigua on November 24.   -  AFP

 

Hegerberg wins Ballon d'Or - December 3

-- The 23-year-old Hegerberg was rewarded for her excellent season and Champions League exploits by being named the inaugural women's Ballon d'Or winner. She had to bat away a question from host Martin Solveig asking her if she knew how to 'twerk' at an awkward awards ceremony in Paris.

Norwegian forward Ada Hegerberg gestures after receiving the 2018 FIFA Women's Ballon d'Or award for best player of the year.   -  AFP