Kvitova-Osaka: Australian final from different perspectives

Posted January 27, 2019

The 21-year-old beat Kvitova on Saturday to win her second straight Grand Slam title.

Osaka regained her cool and clipped a clean backhand victor to take a break point in the third game of the decider, going on to see off a Kvitova break opportunity, her mental demons put to bed.

The victim of a home invasion two years ago, the two-time Wimbledon champion laid bare her struggle to regain form in the aftermath of her hand injuries. The two-time Wimbledon victor will be no.2 in the world thanks to her runner-up trophy, something she never thought might happen.

Osaka's first WTA title came in 2018 when she took the win at the Indian Wells Open.

After watching Naomi Osaka do exactly that at the Australian Open, The Tennis Podcast team are convinced that they are looking at an era-defining tennis superstar. "It took me really a while to believe", she said.

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.

There was a lot on the line when Naomi Osaka walked onto the court on Saturday night. "I really fought back 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.

However as Naomi Osaka now sits in position of total prominence as the new world no.1 ranked player after adding the Australian Open to the US Open she won last September, she must wonder how much more onerous and traumatic finals get can. "Told myself I'm playing a final and need to keep fighting and couldn't act immature and needed to keep fighting". But mostly, thank you for sticking with me even when we didn't know if I would able to hold a racquet again.

All that really matters, of course, is that Osaka righted herself in time to win.

Kvitova and Osaka were both crowd favorites, with Osaka capping an incredible comeback story by making her first Grand Slam final appearance since 2014, when she won at Wimbledon. That was also the first set she had lost at Melbourne Park in the last two weeks.

"It wasn't only physically but mentally was very tough". Ram's only previous Grand Slam final appearance ended in a runner-up finish at the 2016 US Open mixed doubles with fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe. "I just set up the mind that I really wanted to come back, and I just did everything". Much of the aftermath of that game was dominated by Williams' disagreement with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who she called a "thief". "At the same time I was just trying to focus on playing the match".

Yet there was nothing to dampen Osaka's celebrations on this occasion, after she extended her winning streak at the highest level to 14 matches and became the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow up her first slam success by winning the next major.