1 after entering 'robot' mode for title

1 after entering 'robot' mode for title

Naomi Osaka has won the first set 7-6 (2) in her Australian Open final against Petra Kvitova and is potentially one set from winning back-to-back major titles.

This was the moment Naomi Osaka deserved, a moment befitting a back-to-back Grand Slam champion who, come Monday morning, will become the first Japanese player to reach No. 1.

But Osaka's latest triumph nearly never happened, with the temperamental young talent threatening to mentally unravel after blowing three match points in a row with Kvitova serving at 3-5 and love-40 down in the second set. After Kvitova double-faulted to offer up a break point at 1-all, Osaka converted it with a cross-court backhand victor.

It was a far cry from the heart-crushing image of four months ago, when cameras immortalized the brutal reality of Osaka's first major win, at the US Open, her black visor pulled low and her hand covering her eyes as Serena Williams' arm was wrapped consolingly around her shoulder. With this win, she has finally put an end to women's tennis' chaotic two seasons since Serena Williams went on maternity leave. She would not let this lead disappear.

"Yeah, I mean, honestly when I was playing her, and I heard the crowd was for both of us, I was very happy".

Osaka, unable to keep her emotions in check, double faulted the set away.

"I'm beyond excited to become the new world No 1", she said after dislodging Romania's Simona Halep. "I just hope I can get through this", she humbly shared, before warmly thanking Kvitova.

The victor at Melbourne Park will also move to No. 1 for the first time when the next women's rankings are released.

Kvitova was understandably emotional in her own speech, as she thanked those who helped her return to the top of the game.

But there was this, which was no small thing: Kvitova, who will now be ranked No. 2, proved to herself that she can be the player she used to be, and can contend for Grand Slam championships.

Here's one measure of how even it was: Each finished with 33 winners.

When Krejcikova was taken to deuce in the 12th game, the Australians had a set point. There was plenty of strong serving, clean hitting and good movement.

Japan's Naomi Osaka hugs Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova after winning the women's singles final.

How pivotal was that moment?

With a resilience forged in the strife-torn US Open final, Naomi Osaka clinched her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday, but this time there was no drama that could sour her triumph. Osaka, meanwhile, entered the day having won 59 matches anywhere after going up by a set.

All that really matters, of course, is that Osaka righted herself in time to win. She took the second, and the relief on her face was easy to see as coolness prevailed.

"I didn't have a choice on how long the break was".

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