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Osaka Downs Kvitova For Australian Open Glory

Osaka Downs Kvitova For Australian Open Glory

Naomi Osaka has claimed back-to-back Grand Slam titles with a three-set victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final.

Having won the US Open last year, the Japanese ace was forced to battle hard for her second major, running out a 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 winner in Melbourne after a topsy-turvy encounter.

Having taken the opening set on a tie-break, the 21-year-old served for the championship at 5-4 in the second, only for her Czech Republic opponent to break back and then level affairs with 12 straight points.

Kvitova led in the decider before Osaka finally secured a break and went on to serve out for an emotional victory with her fifth match point.

The triumph means that the Florida resident will now take over at the top of the WTA rankings when the new list is published on Monday, and she paid tribute to both her team and opponent after collecting the trophy.

“I wouldn’t have wanted this to be our first match but huge congratulations to you [Kvitova] and your team,” she said. “You are amazing and I am honoured to have played you in a Grand Slam final.

“I want to thank everyone, you make this tournament possible. Thanks to my team. I don’t think I would have made it through this week without you.”

Kvitova was playing in her first Grand Slam final since suffering injuries during a knife attack in 2016 and the two-time Wimbledon champion was just delighted to have gone so far.

“It’s crazy. I can’t believe I have just played in the final of a Grand Slam again,” she said. “It was a great final. Well done Naomi. To her team as well, you really played well. Congratulations for being world number one as well.”

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