'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.Also on rt.com Gutsy Osaka fights off Kvitova to win Australian Open title in Melbourne epic
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.
Tears of joy 🙏@Naomi_Osaka_#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/ckfLkGG6kf— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019
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.
"Huge congrats to Petra. I've always wanted to play you. You've been through so much, honestly I wouldn't have wanted this to be our first match."@Naomi_Osaka_ is all class 🙏#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/8WxY6PVNc2— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019
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.
So refreshing having a Grand Slam final presentation with Naomi Osaka as the deserved winner & without the akwardness of the loser having a meltdown & calling the umpire a thief. #AusOpen— Ned Zelic (@NedZelic) January 26, 2019
Naomi Osaka was overshadowed when she won her first grand slam. So she just won the next slam too to let everyone know.— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) January 26, 2019
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.
Banishing bittersweet memories of a traumatic US Open triumph over aggrieved Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka has finally got the moment she deserves. https://t.co/OGArxD4msm— Herald Sun Sport (@heraldsunsport) January 26, 2019
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.
A new world No.1 Naomi Osaka. A brilliant final that could easily have slipped away. She is a star.Petra Kvitova so full of grace in defeat and so appreciative of the sport she loves.Great start to the tennis year with Rafa and Novak to look forward to.— Andrew Castle (@AndrewCastle63) January 26, 2019
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.
First ever Asian slam champion Li Na handing off the Australian Open trophy to the first ever Asian world #1 Naomi Osaka. A moment.— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 26, 2019
Naomi Osaka, the 21-year-old from Japan, defeats Petra Kvitova 7-6 5-7 6-4 to win the Australian Open and become world No 1 (was ranked No 72 this time last year). The first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win first two grand slam titles at back-to-back majors. #AusOpen— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 26, 2019
One year ago, Naomi Osaka was world No.72. Today, she's the world No.1 and a 2x Grand Slam champ.#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/OLZG94yZrY— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019
Others simply paid to tribute to two inspirational players who had provided a fitting denouement to the women’s singles in Melbourne.
She is absolutely legend @Naomi_Osaka_ 🎾🇦🇺❤️ congratulations!! #AusOpen— Yuki Nagasato (@Yuki_Ogimi) January 26, 2019
When I grow up I wanna be like Naomi Osaka. The way she regrouped after that 2nd set is a skill I am yet to acquire so far in my life. When I grow up I wanna b like Petra Kvitova. The way she turned trauma into triumph is something that inspires me every day!Take a bow ladies!— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) January 26, 2019
This time, it's all smiles:Naomi Osaka backs up her breakthrough US Open win by winning the 2019 #AusOpen, beating Petra Kvitova 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-4 in a feel-good, roller coaster final, recovering after missing three match points in second set.The consolidation of a champion.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 26, 2019
One fan simply wrote that the world "doesn't deserve" Naomi Osaka.
she’s so soft pls we don’t deserve naomi osaka pic.twitter.com/jhO9cWrYu6— em (@sunriseaverys) January 26, 2019