Osaka wins first set against Kvitova in Australian Open final

Australian Open 2019 Women

She becomes the first Japanese player to hold the number one ranking, moving up to the top spot from number four.

Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served.

She broke Kvitova in the third game of the final set and converted her fifth matchpoint to end a superb final in two hours and 27 minutes, receiving the acclaim of the crowd in stark contrast to her last Grand Slam success.

Osaka regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand victor to take a break point in the third game of the decider, going on to see off a Kvitova break opportunity, her mental demons put to bed.

It was a marked contrast to her maiden Slam win previous year when Osaka cried as boos rang around Flushing Meadows following losing finalist Serena Williams' tirade at the umpire.

Just as Serena Williams, the last woman to win back-to-back Grand Slams, became the queen of a millennial generation's yearning for empowerment and self-belief, Osaka could succeed her as the queen of whatever Generation Z becomes.

Kvitova said it might take her some time to get over the disappointment, especially as she had chances to get back into the match, even in the third set.

Kvitova held serve and then broke a wilting Osaka again to take the set as the rattled Japanese walked off for a bathroom break with a towel over her head. In press conference, the Czech player said: "It's been a while".

But if you ask her about it, Osaka says she doesn't feel like a grown-up.

"I wanted to win and have the trophy". Won her first WTA title at Indian Wells in March and won her first Grand Slam at the US Open in September.

"I knew that Petra couldn't keep it up for that long if Naomi could just manage those emotions", said Osaka's coach, Sascha Bajin, "and she did that beautifully".

On what's been a wonderful comeback after being the victim of a knife attack two years ago, she added: 'It's hurting a lot today. Behind a tennis player is always a team and I am really grateful, so thank you guys.

They had never met before and Osaka initially struggled to unlock the lanky left-hander's serve, while Kvitova at times could not handle her opponent's powerful returns.

Naomi Osaka edged Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open Saturday, her second consecutive Grand Slam title. I think about this on the court, too. "I think if I didn't regroup after the second set, then I would have looked back on this match and probably cried or something".

However, Osaka will be remembered for her dominating tennis this time around, rather than umpiring decisions.

Osaka came under pressure at 2-2 and 3-3 but saved a combined five break points, while also seeing a break point on the Kvitova serve well saved by the Czech.

"For me, Grand Slams is something you dream about playing as a kid", said the new top-ranked player in the world, during her press conference.



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