Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka beat Czech Petra Kvitova in three thrilling sets Saturday to clinch her first Australian Open title and also the world number one ranking effective from Monday.
It was the Japanese second successive Grand Slam title. She defeated Serena Williams last year to win the US Open title, in a match remarkable for an infamous tantrum by Serena against the umpire.
Osaka has also now become the first Japanese woman to be world number one.
The first set in Melbourne ended in a tie break, with Osaka racing to a 7-2 victory.
Kvitova clinched the second set 7-5, coming from 3-5 to win the next four games and stay alive in the tournament.
Osaka at a stage became emotional as she watched her chances slip away in the second set. She was the first to break her opponent and to hold serve to stay at 4-2. Kvitova also broke back, while Osaka was serving for the championship at 5-4 and leveled up, to scoop the next three games in succession.
The championship went into a third set decider. And it was Osaka that galloped ahead, breaking Kvitova and holding her own serve to lead 3-1.
At 5-4, Osaka was again at the pole post to win the tournament. She didn’t waste the opportunity the second time.