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Petra Kvitova feels a victor, despite Australian Open pain

Petra Kvitova feels a victor, despite Australian Open pain

Osaka had won 59 straight matches after taking the first set before Saturday's final and showed why as her serves grew bigger and the winners flowed from her racket in the second.

And with the win, she'll be the new No. 1 - the first Asian male or female player to get that high.

The fact Osaka could rebound in the manner in which she did and beat a player of Kvitova's quality speaks volumes about the mental strength of the 21-year-old.

She said she did not know if she would ever hold a racquet again. Like in the third set of my match today, I literally just tried to turn off all my feelings.

The Japanese sensation put on a memorable spectacle with Petra Kvitova, who had her own story to tell - the victim of a terrifying home invasion that left her playing hand horrifically mangled and career up in the air.

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 never-say-die Kvitova forced a deciding set before Osaka finally edged ahead with a decisive break early in the third.

In New York, Osaka was faced across the net by the most incensed Serena Williams but amazingly kept her calm to win a first major title. That was also the first set she had lost at Melbourne Park in the last two weeks.




"Well, after winning the US Open Naomi Osaka became a star".

She has also become the youngest World No. 1 since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 to be recognised as the best player in the world.

Kvitova did not go down without a fight though, successfully saving three (3!) championship match points to make Osaka serve for the win at 5-4. "It took me really a while to believe", she said.

While Osaka was a deserving victor, Kvitova let slip two big chances to claim the title herself. She has more than earned the right to be her slightly awkward and self-aware self. But the Australian pair, who have delighted crowds all fortnight with their fairytale run, hit back with some of the swashbuckling tennis that had brought them this far. I guess looking from the outside, from your guys' view, it does, " Osaka said.

"But for now, I'm more happy that I won this trophy".

Osaka's victory Down Under, and accompanying post-match presentation in which both players were handed generous plaudits, was all very different to the win over Serena Williams in NY back in September. "I just hope I can get through this", she humbly shared, before warmly thanking Kvitova. "Told myself I'm playing a final and need to keep fighting and couldn't act immature and needed to keep fighting".

"Sorry, public speaking isn't really my strong side", she said.

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. I wanted to win and have the trophy but I think I already won two years ago. Although Osaka seemed gutted by losing the set - in which she dropped three championship points and left the court in tears, she refocused herself.

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