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Osaka beats Kvitova to win Australian Open (pics)

January 26, 2019 at 1:25pm
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Naomi Osaka beat Petra Kvitova 7-6(2) 5-7 6-4 to become the first Japanese player to win the Australian Open on Saturday.

The win made fourth seed Osaka the first player from an Asian country to claim the world number one ranking.

Factbox on Japan’s Naomi Osaka

Born: Oct. 16, 1997 in Osaka, Japan (age 21)

Grand Slam titles: 2 (U.S. Open 2018; Australian Open 2019)

*Won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, four months after capturing her first major at the U.S. Open.

*Will climb from world number four to number one in the rankings on Monday, unseating Romanian Simona Halep who was ousted by Serena Williams in the fourth round.

EARLY LIFE

*Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Osaka grew up idolizing 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

*Moved to New York when she was three years old and turned professional in 2013 aged 15.

*Played in the main draw of a WTA event for the first time at Stanford in 2014. She beat Sam Stosur in the first round before losing to Andrea Petkovic.

 

CAREER TO DATE

*Made her Grand Slam debut as a qualifier at the Australian Open in 2016, beating Elina Svitolina in the second round before losing to former champion Victoria Azarenka.

*Cracked the top 100 in the world for the first time in April 2016 and the top 50 later in the year.

*Named 2016 WTA “Newcomer of the Year” after making third-round appearances at three Grand Slams and reaching her first WTA final.

*Won her first WTA title in March 2018 in Indian Wells, beating Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep along the way.

*Beat Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open final to claim her maiden Grand Slam title and finished the year ranked fifth in the world.

*Beat Kvitova in the 2019 Australian Open final to become the first player since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win the next Grand Slam after her maiden major title.

REUTERS