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Naomi Osaka conquers Petra Kvitova to claim second straight Grand Slam title

Japanese prodigy Naomi Osaka is the undisputed new dominant force in women's tennis after edging Petra Kvitova in a drama-charged Australian Open final at Melbourne Park.

Osaka claimed her first Open crown and the world No.1 ranking with a steely 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 triumph in their winner-takes-all showdown.

In denying Kvitova an emotional third Grand Slam title and securing back-to-back majors of her own, the 21-year-old supplanted Simona Halep to become the youngest player to scale the summit of women's tennis since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

Ranked 72nd this time last year, Osaka is also the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to land successive majors, backing up her stunning breakthrough over the American superstar in last year's US Open final with a stylish encore at Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka threatened to mentally unravel after losing 18 of 22 points from 5-3 and 40-love up on Kvitova's serve in the second set.

But Asia's new sporting superstar regained her cool to take the deciding set, the match, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and AUS $4.1 million winner's cheque after two hours and 27 minutes.

Source: Associated Press

Kvitova hadn't dropped a set in storming into her first grand-slam final since landing her second Wimbledon crown in 2014.

But she fell victim to Osaka's fearless stand-and-deliver groundstrokes in a big-hitting and compelling final.

Kvitova, too, had the chance to capture the world's top ranking, but was gracious in defeat.

"I cannot believe I just played the final of a grand slam again," said Kvitova, just 25 months since doctors feared she'd never play again after being stabbed and having her left playing hand - which she described as her "greatest gift" - shredded in a violent attack in her own home.

"So it was a great final. Well done, Naomi.

"To your team as well, you really played well and congrats for being No.1 as well.

"To my team, thank you for everything but mostly thank you for sticking with me even we didn't know if I was able to hold this racquet again.

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

Robbed of the spotlight by Williams after her extraordinary meltdown in New York, Osaka on this occasion deflected the praise to her gallant opponent.

"Huge congrats to you, Petra. I always wanted to play you and you have been through so much," Osaka said.

"You are really amazing and I am really honoured to have played you in the final of grand slam."


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