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Osaka wins AO title, takes No.1 ranking

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Naomi Osaka has won her second grand slam title with a win over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final. Pic GettyMore

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.

"Honestly, when I was playing and I heard the crowd was for both of us I was very happy but at the same time I was trying to focus on the match". And just think: At the start of 2018, the now-two-time major victor was ranked well outside of the top 50.

"For me, I feel like it hasn't really sunk in".

Osaka also became the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow up her debut slam win by claiming the next one.

"It's a great tournament for me and a great honour to hold this handsome [runner-up] trophy".

On Monday, when the new tennis rankings are updated, the Japanese-born Osaka, who is now ranked No. 5 in the world, will move all the way to the top, becoming the first Asian player of any gender to hold the No. 1 spot, according to The Telegraph.

It took Osaka until the second game of the decider to restore her equilibrium, and much to her credit she held serve and then broke as errors started to reappear from the other side of the net.

Osaka was born in Japan - her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian - and she moved to NY at age 3.

"You were there every single day, supporting me and staying positive for me, which I really needed".

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It therefore came as little surprise when she revealed she kept it short when telling herself how she was going to work her way back into the Australian Open final, just as her hopes of victory seemed to be teetering on the brink disaster. The first Grand Slam of 2019 sees world number one Novak Djokovic aiming for his third consecutive slam title, and seventh Australian Open. Kvitova had five break-point opportunities in the opening set but could not convert any of them and then went on to lose the tiebreaker in her first meeting against the Japanese.

But Courier says Osaka now has "justice" after storming into the spotlight all by herself. Slammed a ball. Tugged at her visor's pink brim.

Petra Kvitova really wanted to be the Australian Open champion.

We look at Osaka's rapid rise from outsider to the best female player on the planet over the previous year. But mostly, thank you for sticking with me even when we didn't know if I would able to hold a racquet again.

Osaka managed to stop the rot, though, making it 1-1 in the third set as her coach Sascha Bajin leapt to his feet and shouted encouragement.

Kvitova was in her first grand slam final since her hitting hand was badly injured after being stabbed in a home invasion in late 2016.

Kvitova had won her last eight finals, including the Sydney International in the lead-up to the first Grand Slam of the campaign, and she is thrilled with how she is playing.

"Huge Congrats to you, Petra", she added, addressing her opponent.

Osaka spoke of a tournament where she had found the ability to win on "will power alone", a quality regularly attributed to Williams throughout her career of 23 Grand Slam titles. "Of course I felt very disappointed and sad when I had three match points", she said.

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