Naomi Osaka 大坂なおみ overcame nerves and a spirited challenge from double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to claim the Australian Open title with a 7-6(2) 5-7 6-4 win on Saturday .
— 読売新聞 YOL (@Yomiuri_Online) January 26, 2019
It was a second successive Grand Slam title for the Japanese player, after her U.. Open triumph in September, and she became the first Asian player to claim the world number one ranking in the process.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019
Kvitova saved four matchpoints, showing the same resilience she needed to return to the top level of tennis after a knife attack and lengthy surgery in 2016, but her fightback fell just short.
Osaka shed tears after losing the first set from a 5-3 lead but returned to court after a washroom break calmer and more composed.
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.
The 21-year-old Osaka became the youngest women’s world number one since Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who was 20 when she topped the rankings in 2010.
The fourth seed, one of the cleanest strikers of the ball in women’s tennis, also became the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the next Grand Slam after her maiden major title.