Naomi Osaka edges Petra Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

"I know she really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam", Osaka told reporters.

'For me, every practice and every match that I've played, it feels like the year is short and long at the same time.

But what else was she going to say?

On Saturday, the tears flowed again, firstly in anguish after losing the second set in a riveting final and finally in joy as she celebrated a 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 victory over the courageous twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Telling herself to leave nothing out on the court meant the player who emerged for the third set was a far cry from the one who finished the second in such an emotional state. "She's supposed to hold her serve". You know, that's why I worked pretty hard to be back there.

After throwing out a few "thank yous", she admitted to forgetting what had been in her speech notes and wrapped things up quickly. "I'm really honored to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam".

Well, after winning the #usopen2018 Naomi Osaka became a star.

She was hurting and yet she returned to win the title and this was an overcoming not just of a rival but of herself. I want her to win on grass. "Like no one ever was". It caps off a brilliant run for the No. 4 seed Osaka, who had to beat the likes of Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova just to get to this point. The next global superstar has arrived.

In New York Osaka was faced by the most incensed Serena Williams but amazingly kept her calm to win a first major title. Just a year ago, Osaka was ranked No. 72 in the world, and has buried their record. Now, after two years of burgeoning stars and bewildering upsets, the sport has a woman ready to lead from the top.

On the strength of Saturday's final, more major silverware may be just around the corner. And disappointed she was - she went into the locker room crying after losing the second set.

Osaka's meltdown was all the more baffling given she had not lost for 59 matches after winning the first set.

Proving why she's a two time Wimbledon champ, Kvitova won the second set taking it to the decider.

With Kvitova down 0-40 at 3-5, and Osaka staring at three championship points, her coronation looked assured.

In Melbourne, rather than crying tears of upset, Osaka collapsed into unbridled joy as her achievement of winning back-to-back Grand Slams began to sink in.

Regardless of the result, what Kvitova calls her "second career" post-attack is back on track. The Czech broke Osaka in the next game and then held easily for 6-5.

She was born in Japan.

It was, make no mistake, a stunning collapse.

A HUGE congratulations to both players. It happened to Elina Svitolina at the 2017 French Open.

That was crucial when she had to come back from a set and 4-1 down against Hsieh Su-wei in the third round, when she spiked her racket in frustration. But Osaka calmed down.

She then won four straight games to win the set as Osaka left the court with a towel draped over her head.

"She is still so young, with so much potential to keep growing as No.1".

"I know that everyone was cheering for Serena Williams and I'm sorry it had to end like this".

It's been five years. "She started swinging from the fences".

Kvitova would not surrender, saving three break points before again forcing Osaka to serve it out.

  • Steve Townsend