Naomi Osaka Becomes The First Asian World #1 Player After Winning Australian Open
Naomi Osaka won her second straight major title via a dramatic victory over Czech Petra Kvitova at the Australian Open final on Saturday.
After winning her back-to-back Grand Slam titles, the 21-year-old Japanese-Haitian tennis star became the first Asian world number one player, CNN reports.
Osaka, who represents Japan in competitions, was in tears during the second set of the watch after missing three consecutive match points but managed to still pull off a win with scores of 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 in her favor.
A huge contrast to her U.S. Open victory, Osaka was all smiles when she was presented the Daphne Akhurst trophy by China’s retired tennis star Li Na in Melbourne.
“Erm, hello. Sorry, public speaking isn’t my strong point so I hope I can get through this,” she said during her acceptance speech.
“I read notes before this but I still forgot what I was meant to say. Thank you, everyone. I am really honored to have played in this final.”
Osaka, who matched Li’s two Grand Slam singles titles, is only the sixth female player in the Open Era to win the titles back-to-back. The elite group includes Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Hana Mandlikova, Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati who captured the feat in 2001.
“In New York, most of the crowd was for Serena,” said Osaka. “Here it felt like they were split a little bit. Honestly when I was playing (Kvitova) and I heard the crowd was for both of us, I was very happy. At the same time, I was just trying to focus on playing the match.”