Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has captured the Australian Open title and world number 1 spot by beating Petra Kvitova - in scenes that came in stark contrast to her maiden Grand Slam win over Serena Williams a year ago.
After showing her undoubted fighting spirit to extend the match the distance from an unlikely position, Kvitova was unable to maintain the change in ascendancy in her favour as Osaka showed great resolve to earn victory in the pair's first meeting.
Such power can be volatile over the course of three sets and she was brought to tears when broken serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. She picked up an early break in the third set, erased a chance for Kvitova to break back at 4-3 with a booming serve, and then served out the match.
It was an agonising two hours and 27 minutes but Japanese tennis fans burst into tears and shouts of joy Saturday as Naomi Osaka sealed her second straight Grand Slam.
This was her first major title match since she won her second Wimbledon championship in 2014.
Osaka's breakthrough victory in NY in September was overshadowed by an explosive row between her opponent Serena Williams and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos, the fall-out from the ruckus echoing well beyond match point.
"Huge congrats to you and your team and you are really unbelievable and I am really honoured to have played you in the final of a grand slam". "I'm proud of myself in that case", she said. She also got her powerful shots going again. I've always wanted to play you and you have been through so much.
The victim of a terrifying knife attack in 2016, Petra Kvitova was in a positive frame of mind after her loss in the Australian Open final.
The 21-year-old started her victory speech by apologizing for not being a strong "public speaker", then stopped halfway through to put the trophy down. "Just thank you everyone and I am really honoured to have played in this final".
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Wins her second Grand Slam at the Australian Open and becomes the first player since 2001 to win back-to-back Slams after their maiden title.
"I'm just trying to take maximum from the minimum". I don't think that I could really imagine.
It took two huge bites to do it, but Naomi Osaka scored another brilliant Grand Slam triumph when she fought off the courageous challenge of Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open.
"I read notes before this but I still forgot the rest of what I am supposed to say".
For Kvitova, simply being in a Grand Slam final was a triumph of sorts. "Maybe in the next tournament I play, if I see the number one next to my name, I'll feel something", she said.
She has now gone a step further to write her name in the history books as the first Asian to be crowned number one since computer rankings were introduced in 1975. In many cases, such a situation could have sent a player into a freefall, especially a player as young as Osaka.
Osaka, unable to keep her emotions in check, double faulted the set away.
The title win also means Osaka will become the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings. "The other players just want to beat you because you're playing well".
A break in the third game of the decider, however, proved enough for Osaka, who fell to her knees as Kvitova's forehand went wide to hand her the title.