Osaka wins Australian Open title, to become new world No. 1

It's Day 13 at the Australian Open. Petra Kvitova, the No. 8 seed, takes on Naomi Osaka, the No. 4 seed, at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Title clash: Naomi Osaka (left) takes on Petra Kvitova in the final. Photo: AFP

Naomi Osaka of Japan becomes the youngest world No. 1 since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010, the first women other than Serena Williams to win back-to-back singles Grand Slams since Kim Clisters at the 2010 US Open and 2011 Australian Open, and the first Asian – male or female – to be world no. 1 in singles!!!

Osaka's win breaks a run of eight Grand Slams, eight different winners in the women's singles game.

Osaka is the first woman to win her first two Grand Slam titles consecutively since Jennifer Capriati won the 2001 Australian Open and French Open.

Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, becomes the new world No. 2.

Kvitova may have lost today, but it's still a remarkable return to the top of the game. Remember, a home invader left her with multiple lacerations to the tendons and nerves on her left hand and fingers a little before Christmas 2016.

4:43pm: GAME, SET AND MATCH FOR 21-YEAR-OLD NAOMI OSAKA.

THE JAPANESE DEFEATED PETRA KVITOVA 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 6-4.

4:43pm: Osaka still has two championship points as Kvitova saves one.

4:42pm: Osaka whacks a winner past Kvitova's forehand for 30-0. And now she holds three championship points for the second time.

4:41pm: Osaka hits an ace to begin the game.

4:39pm: Kvitova keeps fighting and holds serve. Osaka will serve for the match at 5-4.

4:37pm: Kvitova reflexively gets to a monster return from Osaka, who nets the ball. 15-alll.

4:36pm: Osaka races through that game to make it 5-3. She's a game away from lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup for the second time today.

4:32pm: Kvitova holds. Osaka serves at 4-3.

4:31pm: Kvitova saves all three!

That's the second time she's come from back from 0-40 down on her serve.

4:30pm: Osaka has three break points!

4:29pm: Kvitova under pressure as she goes love-30 down on her serve.

4:28pm: Deuce as Osaka saves the break point. And she holds to lead 4-2 in the decider.

4:26pm: A break point and a chance to level the set for Kvitova!

4:23pm: Kvitova holds serve in an important game. She's already come back from the brink in this match once. She now needs to recoup a break in the third set as she trails 2-3.

4:18pm: Osaka holds serve for 3-1.

4:15pm: Osaka breaks Kvitova to take a 2-1 lead in the decider.

4:10pm: Osaka holds. It's 1-all in the third set.

4:07pm: A comfortable hold for Kvitova to begin the deciding set.

4:05pm: What a set that was, swinging between extremes, with Kvitova first taking the advantage, then Osaka storming back, and Kvitova mounting a stirring resurrection.

4:02pm: NAOMI OSAKA DOUBLE-FAULTS AND GIVES PETRA KVITOVA THE SECOND SET 7-5!

What a comeback for Kvitova! She saved three championship points on her own serve at 3-5.

4:01pm: Kvitova now has three set points on Osaka's serve!

4:00pm: Osaka serves to takes the second set into a tiebreaker. And an unlucky net cord sees her quickly drop to love-30.

3:59pm: Kvitova holds for 6-5 in the second set.

3:58pm: Under pressure, Kvitova saves the break point.

3:57pm: Osaka has a break point on Kvitova's serve to go ahead again in the second set.

3:53pm: Drama as Osaka double-faults to give Kvitova two break points! KVITOVA BREAKS FOR 5-ALL IN THE SECOND SET.

Osaka flounders on her first attempt at serving out the match. Kvitova survives.

3:50pm: Kvitova holds serve. Osaka will now serve for the 2019 Australian Open title.

3:49pm: Kvitova saves two match points. Osaka has one more. But the Japanese sends the ball wide to squander that.

3:48pm: Three championship points for Osaka on Kvitova's serve!

3:46pm: Osaka holds serve for 5-3. It's Kvitova serving to stay in the match.

3:32pm: Kvitova holds serve, but Osaka leads 4-3 and is two games from the title.

3:38pm: Osaka consolidates the break to lead the second set 4-2. She's moving closer to lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

3:35pm: Osaka holds for 2-all, then breaks Kvitova to love to take a 3-2 lead in the second set!

3:27pm: A double fault by Kvitova gives Osaka another break point. And Osaka breaks. Set two is back on serve.

3:26pm: Deuce No. 4 on Kvitova's serve.

3:23pm: Break point for Osaka now. But she just misses a reflex backhand down-the-line shot.

3:22pm: Deuce on the Kvitova serve as Osaka fights back.

3:19pm: Osaka broken! Kvitova takes an early 2-0 lead in the second set.

3:18pm: A second break point for Kvitova. That's her seventh for the match to Osaka's two.

3:17pm: Kvitova has a break point, which Osaka saves with some monster hitting.

 

3:13pm: Kvitova wins the opening game of the second set.

3:10pm: Kvitova serves to begin the second set.

3:07pm: Petra Kvitova sends a backhand wildly wide to give Naomi Osaka the opening set 7-2 in the tiebreaker.

 

3:06pm: Osaka has four set points on her own serve in the tiebreaker as Kvitova nets the ball.

3:05pm: Two quick service points for Osaka and now she leads 4-1. A forehand passing shot makes it 5-1 to the Japanese.

3:04pm: Osaka takes an early 2-0 lead with a backhand return winner down the line.

3:02pm: Kvitova holds serve and we're into a tiebreaker. Osaka to serve.

3:01pm: Osaka mistimes Kvitova's set and sends the ball looping high and just long. Deuce No. 2.

3:00pm: Kvitova serves out wide to Osaka's backhand and then sends the ball down the line to save the game. It's deuce. And then suddenly a second set point for Osaka.

2:59pm: Osaka has break point and set point on the Kvitova serve.

2:57pm: Kvitova double-faults as she serves a second time to stay in the first set.

2:55pm: Osaka holds for 6-5.

2:54pm: THE RALLY OF THE MATCH! An 18-shot rally in a match that's averaged a little over two per rally.

Three net cords and Kvitova wins the point on the third on a drop shot.

2:53pm: Osaka attempts her own drop shot, but Kvitova dispatches that for a forehand winner.

2:50pm: Kvitova holds serve with a gem of drop shot! 5-all.

2:49pm: First double fault for Kvitova. Nerves? Maybe not, as she hits a beautiful drop shot winner.

2:47pm: Osaka flies through her service game for 5-4 in the opening set.

The pressure will now be on Kvitova, who serves to stay in the first set. Osaka has won the last 59 matches in which she took the opening set.

2:46pm: Kvitova holds easily. It's now 4-4.

2:40pm: Kvitova hits the ball long to squander her third break point.

And Osaka holds for 4-3. A tough service game for the 21-year-old.

2:39pm: A second double fault of the match for Osaka gives Kvitova the advantage. And suddenly she has three break points!

Osaka saves one. And two. A third to go.

2:37pm: Kvitova brings up game point with an incredible sliced drop shot that Osaka nets. She holds. It's 3-all.

2:35pm: It's Osaka's turn to hold a break point as Kvitova sends a forehand wide. And deuce.

2:31pm: Osaka holds. It's 3-2 on serve in the opening set.

But the 6' tall Czech put the pressure on the US Open champion in that last game.

2:30m: Osaka serves to hold, but Kvitova slings a forehead cross-court winner as the Japanese approaches the net.

2:29pm: Another service winner gives Kvitova another chance to break. And deuce No. 2.

2:28pm: A service winner brings up the first break point of the match for Kvitova. And deuce.

2:26pm: After dropping the first point, Kvitova serves out the game to make it 1-all in the opening set.

2:21pm: Osaka takes just a minute to hold to love.

Both players have won 100 per cent on their first serves in the opening three games.

The serve could make a big difference here. Osaka is serving at about 20km per hour faster. But Kvitova's placement is absolutely on point.

2:20pm: Kvitova holds easily to love.

2:18pm: Osaka holds the first game of the 2019 Australian Open women's singles final with a good second serve.

READ: Australian Open: Kvitova breaking down mental barriers

2:15pm: Naomi Osaka to serve.

A double fault to begin with.

2:12pm: The two finalists are on court and the match will resume shortly.

Interestingly, with eight of the top 40 ranked women in the world having been No. 1, Kvitova is not one of them despite winning two Wimbledon titles.

Simona Halep (one title), Caroline Wozniacki (one) and Karolina Pliskova (zero) all first ascended to the top spot without a Grand Slam to their name.

READ: Navratilova: Osaka has the look of a champion

2:02pm: Naomi Osaka is seeking a second consecutive Grand Slam title, having won the US Open in September in a memorable final, for altogether not the best reasons, against Serena Williams.

Whoever wins today becomes the new world No. 1, the loser taking No. 2, both bumping incumbent Simona Halep down to third place.

A win for Japan's Osaka will make her the first Asian, male or female, to hold the top ranking. A win for Kvitova will make her the oldest first-time No. 1.

2:01pm: A win today will be particularly heartwarming for Petra Kvitova, who suffered multiple lacerations to the tendons and nerves on her left hand and fingers during a home invasion a little before Christmas 2016. The left-hander's  comeback has been remarkable, and she led the WTA Tour with five titles in 2018.

2:00pm: If Kvitova takes the title, the Czech southpaw will become the second woman to win three Grand Slams this decade, the other being Angelique Kerber. Both, of course, are far behind Serena Williams, who has won 12 of her 23 Majors since the Australian Open 2010.

Welcome to Sportstar's live blog of the Australian Open 2019. Follow regular updates from the women's singles final, on the penultimate day of the tourney.

We have two women's finalists who have tasted Grand Slam success before. Petra Kvitova, the elder of the two participants, has won the Wimbledon title in 2011 and 2014. Osaka has one title — the US Open — but she has clinched it more recently, in 2018.

 

Both faced tough competition in the semifinals. Kvitova eked out a 7-6 in the first set against Danielle Rose Collins before running through the next set 6-0. Osaka came through in three sets against Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

Who will emerge the champion today? Here's the preview.