Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka to Face-off for Australian Open Title and No. 1 Ranking
(January 24, 2019) Saturday’s Australian Open Women’s final will not only determine a champion but, the new No. 1 when Petra Kvitova faces Naomi Osaka. It will be the second straight Australian Open women’s final determined the No. 1 player.
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) January 24, 2019
The two-time Wimbledon champion, 8th seed Petra Kvitova reached her first Australian Open final on Thursday, beating American Danielle Collins 7-6 (2), 6-0 under a closed roof. This marks the Czech’s return to a major final for the first time since she won Wimbledon in 2014. She’s currently on an 11-match win streak since the beginning of the year. She won the Sydney International coming into Melbourne.
The 28-year-old Kvitova calls this her “second career” returning to the tour after recovering from injuries sustained to her left hand after a home invasion in late 2016 in the Czech Republic.
“I’m still not really believing that I’m in the final,” Kvitova said during her news conference. “It’s kind of weird, to be honest, as well, that I didn’t know even if I gonna play tennis again.
“Yeah, it wasn’t really nice time to be dealing with everything. It wasn’t only physically but mentally was very tough, as well. It took me really while to believe, to the people around me again, and especially to the men, for sure.
“So I wasn’t pretty confident to be alone somewhere. I do remember coming first time I was alone in the locker room in Prague in the club, and I came to my team and said, Well, it was first time I was alone there, and, yeah, it was good one today that I really felt okay.
“Yeah, it was lot of, lot of work with the hand. It was lot of recovery, treatment. You know, it was – I think that’s kind of the sport life help me a lot with that. I just set up the mind that I really wanted to come back, and I just did everything.
“So I was, like, practicing with the hand, like, two, three times per day, which I don’t know if normal person will do that, but of course that I needed the hand to be back on the court. Not only on the court but be able to kind of live normal life.
“Yeah, that’s how it was. Like those three months were very, very tough. I find out lately that my doctor was very – he wasn’t really happy with my hand during the second month, because the scars were very, very tight and hard, and I couldn’t really do anything with that. Luckily he didn’t tell me, like, during that period. He waited when he could tell me.
“So I think that kind of the mental side was there, and I really need to be strong and not really thinking too negatively about it, but of course those thoughts were there, as well.
“Yeah, it’s been long journey.”
With temperatures hovering above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the roof of the Rod Laver Arena was closed at 4-4 in compliance with the Heat Stress Scale.
After the roof was closed, Kvitova won seven out of the next nine games to close out the match.
“I am going to enjoy the final whatever happens,” Kvitova said on court. “I am very, very happy.”
Collins came into the tournament without ever having won a match at a major, this fortnight she had five wins, knocking off seeds including world No. 2 Angelique Kerber.
The 28-year-old Kvitova will play U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka.
U.S. Open champion and No. 4 Naomi Osaka has made it to back-to-back major finals with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win over Karolina Pliskova in the Australian Open semifinals.
Osaka made easy work of her Czech opponent in the first set, breaking her serve twice and controlling the points.
The second set saw Pliskova serve better, hitting more body serves to Osaka, while she made fewer errors.
“I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can,” Osaka said in her on court interview.
The 21-year-old Japanese woman has now won 59 straight matches after winning the opening set.
She hit 15 aces and 56 winners in the match.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 24, 2019
Osaka will be the youngest woman to reach back-to-back major finals since 20-year-old Ana Ivanovic did it in 2008.
She’s looking to be the first person since Serena Williams in 2015 to win two straight major titles.
More to follow….