Naomi Osaka beats Petra Kvitova to win the 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.

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27 January 2019, Melbourne Australia. 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.

Tennis already had a star in 21 year old Naomi Osaka; now it has a superstar. After squandering three match points at 5-3 in the second set, the 21-year-old Japanese regrouped brilliantly to beat the Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-4 to win a dramatic Australian Open final.

With this victory, Osaka becomes world No. 1 for the first time. She is the first Japanese player – man or woman – to win a major championship, and the first Asian to ascend to No. 1. Osaka hails from an Haitian father, Japanese mother, American residency from a young age – but she claims Japan and they her, happily. She is also the youngest No. 1 since Caroline Wozniacki assumed the status in 2010.

Last September, Osaka was reduced to tears when the crowd booed after a controversial US Open final in which Serena Williams lost her cool and argued with the umpire.

This time for Osaka , tears of joy flowed at the end of a high quality, seesaw final.

With this victory, Osaka becomes world No. 1 for the first time. She is the first Japanese player – man or woman – to win a major championship, and the first Asian to ascend to No. 1. Her provenance is complicated – Haitian father, Japanese mother, American residency from a young age – but she claims Japan and they her, happily. She is also the youngest No. 1 since Caroline Wozniacki assumed the status in 2010.

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 honoured 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 missed a fourth championship point with a long return, but took the fifth when Kvitova hit a forehand wide.

A smiling Osaka dropped to her haunches on the baseline before returning to her chair and covering her face in shock as she savoured the moment.

Osaka, who replaces Simona Halep at the top of the rankings after the Romanian’s 48-week stint, becomes the first Asian player to be world number one.

She is also the youngest to hold top spot since Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, then aged 20, took the ranking in 2010.