1 after entering 'robot' mode for title

Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitová delivered a thrilling Australian Open final on Friday, with Kvitova coming from behind to extend the match to a third set, only for Osaka to claim her second consecutive Grand Slam.

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.

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 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.

According to many tennis commentators, Osaka's mental strength was still up for debate, despite her chaotic US Open championship win over Serena Williams. Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15 and has clearly marked herself as tennis' new star. As I said on the court, I didn't know if I'm going to hold the racket again. "I'm really honored to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam".

The Czech had won her last eight finals and more than played her part in a generally high-quality encounter but in the end had no answer.

"In New York, most of the crowd was for Serena and here it felt like it was split a little bit", she said.

Osaka and Kvitova are two of the biggest hitters on the women's tour and long rallies were scarce as both looked to unleash at the first opportunity. I want her to win on grass...

A break in the third game of the decider, however, proved enough for Osaka, who fell to her knees as Kvitova's forehand went wide to hand her the title.

But the Japanese said her rise to two-time major champion and world number one in the space of a year "does not feel fast". In the first set and for much of the second, her play was effortless.

Kvitova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2011 when she was 21 as well. Social scientists continue to search for a precise year to mark the difference between the millennials and Generation Z, but for tennis fans, it may as well be Naomi Osaka's birthdate.

Osaka came under pressure at 2-2 and 3-3 but saved a combined five break points, while also seeing a break point on the Kvitova serve well saved by the Czech.

Petra Kvitova was proud of her second-set fightback against Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open final on Saturday but was left ruing her inability to convert her chances in her loss to the Japanese.

Kvitova was able to come back and go up 1-0 in the third.

"It's insane, I can't believe I just played a final of a Grand Slam again". Osaka already was the first player representing Japan - female or male - to win a Grand Slam singles title.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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