Sports

From outsider to number one - the rapid rise of Naomi Osaka

From outsider to number one - the rapid rise of Naomi Osaka

On Saturday, the tears flowed again, firstly in anguish after losing the second set in a riveting final and finally in joy as she celebrated a 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 victory over the courageous twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Just a year ago, the 21-year-old was world No. 72 but she has gone on to win back-to-back Grand Slams to become the world's best player.

Kvitova then summoned her renowned fighting spirit to survive three championship points as she trailed 3-5 in the second, forcing a decider.

She regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand victor to take a break point in the third game of the decider and was up to the task when Kvitova forced her to serve for the match.

Still, Osaka had a chance to serve for the match, but she passed that up too, double faulting to hand Kvitova two break points and she duly obliged.

Now, she's aiming to be the first woman to win back-to-back majors since Serena Williams in 2015.

After winning the match against Petra Kvitova, Osaka was instantly overcome with emotion, crouching down on the court.

MELBOURNE-With a resilience forged in the strife-torn US Open final, Naomi Osaka clinched her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday, but this time there was no drama that could sour her triumph.

Australia Open: Halep sets up Serena showdown, Djokovic progresses
Serena has looked in ominous form, as she seeks one more Grand Slam title to put her alongside Margaret Court's record of 24. He brings a lot of energy to the court, which is great to see", said Djokovic said of the 19-year-old.

Osaka was born in Japan - her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian - and she moved to NY at age 3.

Petra Kvitova remained ice cool throughout the pressure moments in her Australian Open women's final loss to Naomi Osaka and she carried that demeanour through to the post-match press conference where she didn't look or sound like a grand slam runner up. "For me, every practice and every match that I've played, it feels like the year is short and long at the same time. But I think I already won two years ago", she said.

What she is focused on now is winning her first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2014.

Naomi has an older sister who also plays tennis.

When Kvitova sailed a backhand wide moments later, ceding a set for the first time all tournament, Osaka pumped her fist and screamed, "Come on!"

Osaka had to serve out the match at 5-4 in the decider when it could all have been over almost an hour previously, but this time she did so to fifteen with total commitment.

Osaka appeared to be broken when she walked off court after Kvitova ripped through four straight service games to claim the second set. "So I'm not really sure if I'm satisfied". Osaka, meanwhile, entered the day having won 59 matches anywhere after going up by a set.

"Sorry, public speaking isn't really my strong side", she said. But she was proud of how far she has come since she returned to the Tour. She would eventually win the breaker 7-2 and survived an early push from Kvitova to eventually go up a break in the second. What was meant to be an event honoring Osaka instead became a protest about the way in which Williams had lost.


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