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Naomi Osaka, after wasting three championship points recovered with a bang and reasserted herself down the stretch to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title.
She didn't start well but later Osaka turned it all around and edged Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 on Saturday night to win the Australian Open for a second consecutive Grand Slam title.
The victory also made the 21-year-old Osaka the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.
Osaka held three match points in the second set at 5-3, love-40 as Kvitova served. But Osaka couldn't close it out. Instead, she completely lost her way, dropping 23 of the next 27 points.
That allowed Kvitova to come back and make a match of it, reeling off five games in a row to take the second set and go up 1-0 in the third.
Osaka added the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected in a U.S. Open final last September that forever will be remembered for the way runner-up Serena Williams has docked a game after arguing with the chair umpire.
At 21, Osaka is the youngest No. 1 in nearly a decade; Caroline Wozniacki was 20 when she first ascended to that spot in 2010.
Osaka told Kvitova during the trophy ceremony “You’ve been through so much, I’m really honoured to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam.”