MELBOURNE, Australia — Naomi Osaka (JPN) has won the 2019 Australian Open to become the new World No. 1. Osaka’s three-set victory over Petra Kvitová (CZE) catapulted her to the top of the WTA rankings and cemented her place in history at just 21-years-old.
Osaka is the first player since 2001 to win a maiden Grand Slam and immediately back it up by winning the following one. Her second-straight major title is also more impressive, as the last back-to-back Women’s Singles Champion was 12 Grand Slams ago.
The first career meeting between the two did not disappoint. With powerful groundstrokes and serves being both of their strengths, Osaka and Kvitová combined for 30 winners and no service breaks in the first set alone to force a tiebreaker at 6-6.
Going into the finals, Osaka had won 59-straight matches after winning the first set, which put even more of an emphasis on the tiebreaker. In her first tiebreaker since August of last year, Osaka capitalized on three winners and an ace to win this crucial set 7-6 (2).
Kvitová jumped out to an early 2-0 lead to begin the second set, but Osaka got her first break of the match and turned the momentum back in her favor, reeling off four straight games. At 5-3 in the second, Osaka arrived at her first Championship point with a 0-40 lead on Kvitová’s serve. However, Kvitová captured the next five points to stay alive in the match.
The pressure continued to rise as the momentum swung Kvitová’s way. The veteran rallied back to win the final four games of the second set to force the match into a decider.
Kvitová held at love to open the third set, but Osaka found her form again to break Kvitová and won the next three games. The break at 1-all proved to be the difference maker, as Osaka held the rest of the way.
At 5-4, 40-15, Osaka blasted a first serve winner and hunched over in relief. “Game, set, match, Osaka. 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.”
Osaka, who switched to POLYTOUR STRIKE in the off-season, led the tournament with 59 aces. She is the first Japanese player - male or female - to sit atop the world rankings, which will officially be published on Monday.
In addition to Osaka's success, several other #TeamYonex members won titles Down Under. In total, 8 championship crowns were captured by Yonex players in the following categories: Men's Doubles, Junior Girls' Singles / Doubles, Men's Wheelchair Singles, Women's Wheelchair Singles / Doubles, and Quad Wheelchair Doubles.
Out of the total 23 Australian Open champions, 9 of them used Yonex racquets and 8 of those 9 athletes utlized Yonex polyester strings to help propel them to success, amounting to a No. 1* usage rate when compared to racquet and string brands of other champions. (※ Data researched by Yonex)
Yonex x Australian Open
The Yonex Stringing Team is the Official Stringing Team of the Australian Open for the fourth straight year. With honed skills and robust knowhow, the Yonex Stringing Team is an international team of experts dedicated to providing the world standard of racquet stringing. The team is supported by an arsenal of high-quality, Japan made stringing machines (PT8 Deluxe) that assist in precise re-strings.