Osaka wins first set against Kvitova in Australian Open final
Osaka wins first set against Kvitova in Australian Open final
Naomi Osaka becomes World No 1 after clinching Australian Open title
26 January, 2019, 13:52
By doing so she becomes the first Asian world No 1 of either sex, and with two Majors under her belt nobody can dispute the authenticity of that status.
Osaka soon steadied early in the decider, nabbing the first break behind a big backhand victor and took another 0-40 lead at 4-2.
Having won the first set on a tiebreak, 7-2, Osaka looked home and dry at 5-3 in the second set and 0-40 on the Kvitova serve.
Kvitova is one match away from capping one of the most inspiring comebacks in the history of the sport, having had to undergo a almost four-hour surgery on her playing hand in 2016 after being attacked by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in the Czech Republic.
In the subsequent tie break she simply outplayed Kvitova, thumping down service winners and opening up the court, with the Czech's body language becoming somewhat negative, as it is prone to do.
But Osaka dug deep, quickly breaking her opponent in the third set on her way to victory.
The Japanese showed how nugget she was against Serena Williams in NY and this occasion did not faze her either. She also got her powerful shots going again.
She missed a fourth championship point with a long return, but took the fifth when Kvitova hit a forehand wide.
She was rattled further after losing a challenge in the next, bringing up break point with a cross-court backhand but was unable to stop Kvitova holding.
Last September, Osaka was reduced to tears when the crowd booed after a controversial US Open final in which Serena Williams lost her cool.
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