The fourth seed and US Open champion triumphed 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4 in a 2hr 27min epic over the Czech eighth seed to claim back-to-back Grand Slams and become the first Asian, male or female, to hold the top spot.
Japan erupted in joy after Naomi Osaka won her second straight Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday, with fans taking pride in the feat that guaranteed she will become the country’s first world No. 1 single’s player in tennis.
In Osaka, where she was born, around 30 fans waving Japanese flags erupted in joy after watching the grueling Australian Open final on an installed TV screen at a tennis center where Osaka practiced during her childhood.
“I’m deeply moved. I can only say she’s fantastic,” said 58-year-old Hiroshi Kawai, who visited the Utsubo Tennis Center with his 8- and 10-year-old children.
“I think she was able to win because her serves were on target,” 9-year-old Chihiro Matoba said after Osaka beat the Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova.
In Nemuro, Hokkaido, Osaka’s 74-year-old grandfather Tetsuo Osaka told reporters, “I’m proud of my granddaughter. I want to tell her congratulations.”
He said he did not talk with Osaka before the match as he did not want to put pressure on her.
“The game had many nail-biting moments and I could not move away from TV,” he said.
Of Osaka he added: “She was pampered and has some weakness. But she fought well on a big stage even as she was sulking.”