Japan’s Naomi Osaka won her second Grand Slam in a row with a grueling 7-6(2) 5-7 6-4 victory over Czech two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final. Besides the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, the players battled for their debut at the top of the WTA rankings and it was a fantastic match, in which Kvitova saved three match points in the second set and won five straight games to try to crush Osaka.
There were no breaks of serve in the entertaining first set, even though Kvitova had as many as five break points, including a 40-0 lead on Osaka’s serve in the seventh game, and Osaka had three, including two set points at 6-5. The opening set was over in 51 minutes, when Osaka raced through the tiebreak.
Osaka served really fast in the set, including her 192 kmh (119 mph) fastest serve and she won 22 out of 25 points on her first serve. The eighth-seeded Kvitova, on the other hand, produced some daring drop shots and won the most beautiful point in the set, an 18-shot rally that saw both players run from corner to corner.
When Osaka won the first set, Kvitova’s prospects seemed dim, as not only did she waste so many chances to break, but since 2016 Osaka hadn’t lost a match after winning the first set. Eventually it turned out that the scenario happened again, so her streak is now 59!
After winning the first-set tiebreak 7-2, Osaka pretty much raced to a 4-2 lead in the second set, even though Kvitova had finally broken her serve and had an initial 2-0 lead. At 5-3, the Japanese had three match points, but Kvitova survived, won five consecutive games to win the second set and lead 1-0 in the third.
The 21-year-old Osaka has awe-inspiring nerves, especially for her age, so the lost chances didn’t overpower her confidence. Osaka built a 4-2 lead in the decider and even though she wasted a 40-0 lead on Kvitova’s serve in the seventh game, the reigning US Open champion stayed strong and eventually capitalized on the earned advantage in the tenth game of the set, on her fifth match point.
En route to the title, Osaka defeated Magda Linette in the first round, Tamara Zidansek in the second, seed No.28 Hsieh Su-wei in the third, 13th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the fourth, sixth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals, seventh seed Karolina Pliskova in the semis, and finally the eighth-seeded Kvitova.
The 21-year-old will now become the youngest WTA No.1 since Caroline Wozniacki and the first woman to follow up her maiden Grand Slam title with another major trophy since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
Osaka’s winning Australian Open fashion was created by Adidas in cooperation with Parley for the Oceans, incorporating material made from recycled plastic bottles. The Japanese sported the Adidas Spring Parley Tank Top, Parley Skirt, and Parley Jacket.
Fantastic match! Loved every minute of it. So happy for Osaka and also so happy to see Kvitova back.
And great writing and report here Marija! So thankful for all you do for us 🙂
Goodness, what a rollercoaster match. I felt so bad when Naomi couldn’t convert those championship points and serve out the match in the second set. I’m relieved she stayed strong for the third set. A big congratulations to her! Happy she can celebrate a drama-free Slam now, and I hope the pressures of being No. 1 won’t send her tumbling down like it did to Angie.
I’m happy to see how hard Petra fought and got really teary during her speech, what a comeback she’s made from her injury. I hope she’ll go on to win a Slam this year.
Yay! “Sock it to ’em” Osaka wins it all! Slam title #2 and more on the way, no doubt. Now just don’t make the mistake of switching coaches after winning a slam, Osaka, such as Kerber and Sloane Stephens. Do whatever it takes to stick with Sacha; because to him be the credit for grooming you to play fierce tennis and pattern your style of play after your idol, GOAT Serena Williams. Yes, the dry spell is over for now in winning a 2nd slam title. Those one-hit wonder players on the women’s tour are such a disappointment. You need consistency to gain the reputation of being the real MVP and #1 player in the world. Regardless of who’s playing during any tournament, you’ll notice whose name is constantly and regularly mentioned out of the mouths of commentators: Serena “The GOAT” Williams. Now, just why is that? Because they know, just as anyone who’s not in denial, she truly is the greatest female tennis player of ALL time. #FACTS! Congrats, Blasian Queen Naomi Osaka!
By the way, wouldn’t it have been more suitable & respectful to say “The Champ sported the Adidas Spring Parley top” rather than the Japanese. Better yet, you really should’ve referred to Naomi as the Japanese Australian Open champ instead because the title of this article was about her winning the AO championship & claiming the #1 ranking, not her outfit. Most importantly, she may be playing for Japan & representing that particular country, but she is Haitian/Japanese, not Japanese; her father is Haitian and she was raised primarily with Haitian roots by her Haitian grandmother; hence, the reason she doesn’t speak Japanese fluently and only knows few words in that language, which she just learned in recent months due to criticism. Naomi has made it no secret that she identifies with Haitian/Black culture and influences more so than Japanese; she is what’s considered as Blasian and she’s proud of that. Kudos to her that she’s unashamed & unapologetic when it comes to her true racial heritage and lineage. “Congrats, 2019 AO Champ Naomi Osaka, the Blasian Queen!”
Bloodline effects on the young woman’s athleticism suggest a more apt surname should have been O-Williams or O-Compton or something along those lines. She didn’t get those ground strokes and first serve from her Japanese lineage or genetics, now, did she?
Serena will be 38 later this year. Thought she is the GOATest, her grand slam window will be closing soon. Hard to win grand slams in her 40s.
Glad to see that she won the second gs and proved herself as a grandslammer, after going through some sort of fiasco in the US Open.