Wednesday , June 16 2021

Tennis: Osaka strikes Kvitova to win an Australian Opening and will become a new world number one

MELBOURNE: Japan Naomi Osaka fought beyond Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 to win its first Australian Open Crown Saturday (January 26) and become the new world number one.

The fourth seed and US Open Champion made it two Grand Slam titles in a row after seeing-seeing 2 hours a 27-minute match.

The difficult victory made Osaka the first Asian, male or female, to maintain the highest rank of the world, taken over by Simona Halep from Romania.

Slow Osaka almost ignited her title waiting for one side on the trophy when she did not convert three championship points up to 5-3 in the second set.

The never-say-die Kvitova won four direct games to force a decisive set before Osaka finally went ahead with a decisive rupture early in the third.

The Japanese young man fell into one knee in a party, a head bent, after her epic victory when Melbourne Park burst into thunderstorms.

It was marked a contrast with her maid Slam victory last year, when Osaka shouted that Boos sounded around Flushing Meadows after losing Serena Williams's finalist to the commander.

This time, Osaka wept with tears of joy and smiled as she became the youngest woman to win back behind the greatest since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

Her performance confirms her status as the main light of the new generation of tennis.

Slugfest predictions between two of the game's biggest caterpillars proved exactly when Kvitova won 16 wins to the 14th of Osaka in the first set.

The couple never met before and Osaka initially fought to unlock the opening left hand, while Kvitova could not sometimes deal with his opponent's powerful returns.

The Czech mixed his game with drop-shots and changes in rhythm but blown three breakthrough opportunities in a jigsaw sixth game.

Serving to stay in the set, Kvitova saved two defined points to force a tie that Osaka ran away with 7-2 after finally appearing to read the service of Kvitova.

It was the first set the Czech granted in the entire tournament.

Kvitova regrouped and preserved his hopes alive with the first break of the match to go 2-0 in the second post after the second servicing of Osaka.

Osaka was frustrated but did not worry, winning three back points in the upcoming game, the decisive one of Kvitova's double fault that she agreed with a slowly hit shot to put the set back to level terms.

Osaka, who went into the match with a record of winning 59 straight matches after taking the first set, returned to repair to take control when Kvitova's error climbed.

It was happening then that there were three championship points for the Kvitova service, but the Czech rescued everyone, forcing Osaka to serve for the title.

Nervos seized when Osaka acceded to a rupture to make it 5-5, hitting a ball into the ground and placing his hands over her ears.

She was dismayed later after losing a challenge in the next, rising round point with cross-court re-service but could not stop Kvitova's maintenance.

The Czech once again broke to grab a moment with her fourth straight game, demanding the set when Osaka left the yard with a handkerchief covered on her head.

She recovered her cool and went out shooting in the third, leaning herself and extracted a clean retained winner after another Kvitova double fault brought up breaking point in the third game.

She still had to see Kvitova breakthrough in the next but kept comfortably, her mental demons laid down.

Kvitova did not surrender, saving three rupture points before re-obliging Osaka to serve it. Osaka achieved it in the second attempt for a famous victory.

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