Australian Open champ Osaka is Asia's 1st No. 1 in tennis
Jan 31 2019
And on the day of her quarter finals match, which also happened to be the birthday of her grandfather in Hokkaido, she provoke laughter at the post-game press conference while congratulating her grandfather: "Since in my mental age I have grown from being a three-year-old to being a four-year-old, I wish myself a happy birthday too".
Osaka, who represents Japan in competitions, was in tears during the second set of the watch after missing three consecutive match points but managed to still pull off a win with scores of 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 in her favor.
Osaka is the youngest world No 1 since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 and suddenly finds herself in a place where she is the hunted rather than the hunter. She opened the eyes of China and Asia to the limitless possibilities in tennis, paving the way for more recent champions from the region like Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka.
Japanese born United States of America tennis star, Naomi Osaka who on Saturday claimed her second grand slam is now ranked No1 following her victory over Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final.
Osaka's breakthrough victory in NY in September was overshadowed by an explosive row between her opponent Serena Williams and the chair umpire Carlos Ramos, the fall-out from the ruckus echoing well beyond match point. But Osaka can create her own weather system, and the storm clouds were gathering between her ears in the second set as Kvitova became more aggressive with her groundstrokes and pushed Osaka deeper behind the baseline.
"I know that sounds a bit unusual because this is only the second one, but the first time I won it definitely felt a bit more unreal". "I love that clay court".
"I guess for me if my mum calls me and she's excited, that would be the most happiest moment for me, and also my dad (Leonard Francois) ... he doesn't say anything."
If she can win the French Open or Wimbledon either this year or next, that really sets her up to capitalise on the platform that Tokyo 2020 will give her. Within a span of 10 months, She earned two Grand Slam titles, Indian Wells title and huge love from all over the world. She dismissed it as "not a big problem", noting: "I'm tan, it's pretty obvious".
"I have always felt like I could maybe be an all-court player", she said. "It was just to win this tournament".
Williams, who fell to 491 after her maternity break previous year, continued her rise, gaining five places to 11th. "I feel like I have to think about that".
"To be in this position feels a bit weird because I feel like, all of my life, I have been chasing people and chasing after the ranking", she said. "At the same time, I was just trying to focus on playing the match".
"It is a bit unusual for me to say it like that, for it to be a leadership position".
While she was gone, Osaka said, she reminded herself that Kvitova was an excellent player. I know No.1 is very difficult because people expect you to win all the time and you always have really hard matches because everyone wants to beat you.