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Osaka 'beyond excited' at being world tennis No 1

Osaka 'beyond excited' at being world tennis No 1

The Japanese, who won 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-4 on the night, was visibly frustrated after failing to convert three championship points before losing the second set but regained her focus in the third.

Just a year ago, the 21-year-old was world No. 72 but she has gone on to win back-to-back Grand Slams to become the world's best player.

A remarkable run in which Kvitova grabbed five games in a row and 23 of 27 points gave her the second set and a 1-0 lead in the third.

Still, Osaka had a chance to serve for the match, but she passed that up too, double faulting to hand Kvitova two break points and she duly obliged.

Just as Serena Williams, the last woman to win back-to-back Grand Slams, became the queen of a millennial generation's yearning for empowerment and self-belief, Osaka could succeed her as the queen of whatever Generation Z becomes.

Kvitova would not surrender, saving three break points before again forcing Osaka to serve it out, but the Japanese champion managed it on the second attempt for a famous victory.

Kvitova held and then broke Osaka again to force the decider, letting out a passionate roar with Osaka looking down and out as she left the court.

"It didn't really take that long [to regroup]", Osaka told a packed media conference at Melbourne Park a few hours after her 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-4 win.

Osaka crumbled to her knees after seeing the golden opportunity pass her by. Osaka, it is hard to compare and I don't really want to but her first grand slam win was easy, relatively speaking for her.

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"Huge congrats to you Petra, I've always wanted to play you and you've been through so much". Just over two years removed from the home invasion and knife attack that almost ended her career, Kvitova played fearlessly, and it paid off.

And the tie was nearly wrapped up inside 90 minutes as the 21-year-old earned three Championship points on Kvitova's serve in the ninth game.

"It's insane. I can't believe I just played a final of a grand slam again", she said on the presentation dais through tears.

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

When Kvitova sailed a backhand wide moments later, ceding a set for the first time all tournament, Osaka pumped her fist and screamed, "Come on!" "So I'm not really sure if I'm satisfied".

Osaka had nothing but nice things to say about Kvitova after the match. Every single day you have been supporting me and staying positive for me, which I really needed.

When Smith lost his serve in the second game of the second set, there was no coming back for the local pair.

"You've been through so much", Osaka said to Kvitova while receiving her trophy, via The Washington Post.

All that really matters, of course, is that Osaka righted herself in time to win. Masako Takeda said at the bar as she wiped away tears of joy.