'No sulking loser to hijack the moment': Classy Naomi Osaka gets to savor Australian Open win

'No sulking loser to hijack the moment': Classy Naomi Osaka gets to savor Australian Open win
Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has captured the Australian Open title and world number 1 spot by beating Petra Kvitova – in scenes that came in stark contrast to her maiden Grand Slam win over Serena Williams last year.

Osaka, 21, added the Australian Open title to her US Open title with a hard-fought, three-set win over gutsy Czech Petrova in a game that enthralled fans under the lights in Melbourne.

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Osaka's victory Down Under, and accompanying post-match presentation in which both players were handed generous plaudits, was all very different to the win over Serena Williams in New York back in September.

On that occasion, the Japanese youngster's maiden Grand Slam triumph had played out amid a toxic backdrop stirred by Williams’ venomous outburst at match umpire Carlos Ramos.

READ MORE: ‘I’m still trying to take my mind off it’: Osaka says US Open win against Williams was ‘bittersweet’

In Melbourne, rather than crying tears of upset, Osaka collapsed into unbridled joy as her achievement of winning back-to-back Grand Slams began to sink in. 

With the limelight firmly on her and her accomplishment, the youngster then gave a characteristically shy on-court speech, further endearing herself to tennis fans by admitting "public speaking isn't really my strong suit." 

"I read notes before this, but I still forgot what I was supposed to say!" she then said to laughter from the crowd.

She also paid tribute to her beaten opponent Kvitova, who has won plaudits for battling back from a career-threatening knife attack two years ago to very nearly clinch what would have been a third Grand Slam title.

READ MORE: 'I wasn’t confident to be alone': Kvitova opens up on stabbing hell after reaching Aus Open final

It was hard to ignore the contrast with the scenes last time round when Osaka was being handed a Grand Slam title to a backdrop of boos from the crowd following Williams’ infamous umpire rant.

That was something not lost on some social media users.   

Australian newspaper the Herald Sun, embroiled in a row over a Serena Williams cartoon last year after the US Open controversy, said that this time round there was "no sulking loser" to spoil Osaka's party. 

Others paid equal tribute to Kvitova, who had staved off three championship points in typically gutsy fashion in the second set to almost turn the tide of the match before Osaka reasserted herself in the third set.

Osaka’s achievement was accompanied by a series of firsts – including her being the first Asian player to top the world tennis singles rankings – and also the first woman to win her first two Grand Slams back to back since Jennifer Capriati at the turn of the century.     

Others simply paid to tribute to two inspirational players who had provided a fitting denouement to the women’s singles in Melbourne. 

One fan simply wrote that the world "doesn't deserve" Naomi Osaka. 

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