Mon. Jun 17th, 2019

Naomi Osaka beats Petra Kvitova to win Australian Open 2019

Japan’s Naomi Osaka beat Czech Petra Kvitova in a thrilling Australian Open final to win back-to-back Grand Slams and become the new world number one.

The US Open winner, 21, shed tears after missing three championship points in the second set but regrouped to win 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4.

The fourth seed broke for 2-1 in the decider, then served out the win.

Eighth seed Kvitova, 28, was bidding for her first major title since being stabbed in a knife attack.

Osaka was all smiles during the trophy presentation in Melbourne – in contrast to her US Open victory – and she continued a tradition of slightly awkward acceptance speeches.

“Erm, hello. Sorry, public speaking isn’t my strong point so I hope I can get through this,” she said.

“I read notes before this but I still forgot what I was meant to say. Thank you everyone, I am really honored to have played in this final.”

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who said she was fortunate to be alive after the stabbing incident in December 2016, showed resilience to take the match into a third set as momentum swung from side to side.

Victory seemed to be inevitable for Osaka before Kvitova broke back for 5-5 in the second, then going on to win 12 points in a row to lead for the first time since the start of that set.

However, after welling up at the end of the second set while she left the court for a bathroom break, Osaka regained focus to take a decisive advantage in the decider.

She went on to become the first player since American Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow her maiden Grand Slam win immediately with another triumph.

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