Naomi Osaka crowned Australian Open champion after thrilling Petra Kvitova victory

Naomi Osaka crowned Australian Open champion after thrilling Petra Kvitova victory

Naomi Osaka crowned Australian Open champion after thrilling Petra Kvitova victory

HAKUBA, Japan (Reuters) - Japan rejoiced on Saturday as Naomi Osaka clinched her second consecutive Grand Slam title and reached world number one following her 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova in the final of the Australian Open.

Naomi Osaka has revealed the secret pep talk she gave herself before confirming herself as the undisputed new dominant force in women's tennis with a drama- charged Australian Open final triumph.

Both players were crying - Osaka hiding behind her visor - and Williams asked the crowd to stop booing so the then-20-year-old player could have her moment after her first Grand Slam win.

And with the win, she'll be the new No. 1 - the first Asian male or female player to get that high. "I just hope I can get through this", Osaka said.

The Czech had not dropped a set at Melbourne Park prior to facing Osaka and boasted a fantastic record in finals, but she was denied on this occasion despite showing tremendous character.

Instead, Osaka's courageous fightback ensures all the focus will be on her mental fortitude instead of her mental frailties.

"Hello, public speaking isn't really my strong side, so let's just see if I can get through this", said Osaka at the trophy presentation. It took me really while to believe, to the people around me again, and especially to the men, for sure.

Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. Of course she did.

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"I tried to tell myself there's nothing I can do about it".

"Yeah, I wanted to enjoy my time here".

Her gutsy performance confirms her status as the leading light of tennis' new generation. "Congratulations on winning the Australian Open, Naomi Osaka", Abe wrote on his official Twitter page.

Krejcikova, who is ranked No. 1 in doubles, shared the 2018 French Open and Wimbledon women's doubles titles with compatriot Katerina Siniakova. "Congrats Champ", 18-time Grand Slam victor Martina Navratilova tweeted. She also thanked her team. "So just thank you everyone and I'm really honored to have played in this final".

Kvitova said the pain of losing was secondary to the pride she felt at being back on the biggest stage. The Japanese player was nerveless in reeling off five straight points when she outrallied her opponent. A service break put Osaka ahead 2-1 in the third and there would not be another lapse.

The Japanese star broke again to take control as Kvitova's error rate climbed, bringing up three championship points.

In the subsequent tie break she simply outplayed Kvitova, thumping down service winners and opening up the court, with the Czech's body language becoming somewhat negative, as it is prone to do.

She regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand victor to take a break point in the third game of the decider and was up to the task when Kvitova forced her to serve for the match.

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