Naomi Osaka: It sounds weird to be world No. 1

Naomi Osaka: It sounds weird to be world No. 1

Naomi Osaka: It sounds weird to be world No. 1

Naomi Osaka overcame nerves, tears and a spirited challenge from double Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova to claim the Australian Open title with a 7-6 5-7 6-4 win.

Osaka also squandered three championship points in the second set as her opponent - a two-time Wimbledon champion - threatened to complete a fairytale comeback from the lowest of lows in 2016.

But Osaka regained her composure and her big-shot ability down the stretch, breaking to lead 2-1 with a cross-court backhand victor and holding on the rest of the way.

Osaka's breakthrough victory in NY in September was overshadowed by an explosive row between her opponent Serena Williams and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos, the fall-out from the ruckus echoing well beyond match point.

With Saturday's victory, Osaka became the Women's Tennis Association's No. 1 player, and the first player from Asia (male or female) to win the prestigious distinction.

All up, Osaka lost 18 of 22 points to gift Kvitova a lifeline back into the final. Kvitova was in the same ballpark, winning 71 percent of her first serves and 51 percent of her second serves.

Comeback queen Petra Kvitova said she was hurting but still felt like a victor after going down guns blazing against Japan's Naomi Osaka Saturday in an epic clash for the Australian Open crown.

Though noticeably skittish, Osaka looked slightly more comfortable than the last time she was in this position, standing next to her childhood idol, Serena Williams, after a controversial U.S. Open ending.

Moments after winning what will be remembered as one of the greatest slugfests in Grand Slam history, Naomi Osaka stood at center court, shoulder-to-shoulder with Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova, and allowed the slightest satisfied smile to slowly lift her cheeks.

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A HUGE congratulations to both players.

Even at her young age, Osaka is the most humble tennis champion.

"It's insane. I can hardly believe that I just played in a Grand Slam final again".

What sets Osaka apart from the rest?

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.

"Hello, public speaking isn't really my strong side, so let's just see if I can get through this", said Osaka at the trophy presentation.

When Osaka broke to lead 3-2 in the second set, and then got to 5-3, the outcome seemed to be a foregone conclusion.

Kvitova saved two set points to force a tie-break but Osaka ran away with it 7-2, taking the first set the Czech had conceded in the entire tournament. "Every single day supporting me, which I really needed, it wasn't easy". So that's why I wasn't yelling as much in the third set.

Then came Osaka's second chance to serve out the match, and three more championship points.

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