Japan’s Naomi Osaka crowned Australian Open champion

Fifth win for Dylan Alcott in the Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title.

28 January 2019 | Sports

Japan’s Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open for her second consecutive Grand Slam title by defeating Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 in the final. The 21-year-old Osaka also becomes the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.

Osaka held three match points at 5-3 in the second set but couldn't close it out. She allowed Kvitova to come back and win 23 of 27 points to take that set and go up 1-0 in the third.

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

Osaka added this trophy to the one she collected by beating Serena Williams in a chaotic U.S. Open final last September. Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams picked up four straight in 2014-15.

During the nail-biting final, Osaka served first and had to save two break points in the fifth game and three in the seventh, when she came back from 0-40, to hold. From then on, she applied most of the pressure on Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner.

Kvitova saved two set points while serving to stay in the set and held with a backhand crosscourt winner to force the tiebreaker. However, Osaka dominated the tiebreaker, earning another four set points when Kvitova netted a backhand and converting the first of those on another error from the Czech player.

Wheelchair singles

Dylan Alcott has won his fifth Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory over David Wagner of the United States on Rod Laver Arena. It was a seventh Grand Slam quad wheelchair title for the 28-year-old Alcott, who also beat Wagner in last year's U.S. Open final.

Wagner, a six-time Grand Slam quad wheelchair titlist, rallied from 5-2 down in the second set before Alcott dominated the tiebreaker.

Alcott is a popular figure in Australia as a multi-sport Paralympic gold medallist who regularly appears on television and in advertising for one the Australian Open's sponsors.

"I remember I was 14 and I was lying in bed, and all I wanted to do was make it in the mainstream in some way," Alcott told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, the centre court at Melbourne Park. "I wanted to show that people with disability can be elite at what they do. This match was broadcast into every single TV in Australia. That meant a lot to me."

Alcott thanked the crowd and said it was a great way to celebrate Australia Day, the national holiday. "It's been great for me, but I want it to be great for a lot more people than just me." - Nampa/AP

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