Naomi Osaka has won the Australian Open and is the new world number one, after beating Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-4 in a dramatic final.
In September 2018, Osaka was reduced to tears when the crowd booed her after a controversial US Open final in which Serena Williams lost her cool. The hard-fought victory made Osaka the first Asian, male or female, to hold the world’s top ranking, taking over from Romania’s Simona Halep.
The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers. “I felt like I was in a state of shock through the entire trophy presentation,” the 21-year-old said.
She is the first woman to follow her first grand slam title by immediately winning the next one since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 and the first since Serena in 2015 to win two slams in a row.
Serena Williams has defeated World’s number 1 Simona Halep to reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 Australian Open.
Serena Williams, 37, sat out last year’s Australian Open after giving birth to her daughter months earlier and suffering health complications. Since returning to the tour, Williams has reached the past two Grand Slam finals, losing both.
On Monday, the mother-of-one outlasted Simona Halep at Melbourne Park and won the fourth round match with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 victory.
Speaking on court, Williams said:
It was a really intense match, some incredible points. I love playing tennis, I love this court and it’s really cool to be back out here playing.
I really needed to elevate my game and there’s a reason why. She’s a great player. I had to just play a little bit like I knew I could and I did, and I think hopefully that was the difference.
I’m such a fighter, I never give up. There’s definitely something that’s innate.
Serena will now make her way through to the quarter-final where she will meet Czech Karolina Pliskova.