Picking herself up again after losing a set in which she had served for the match, Naomi Osaka recovered to beat Petra Kvitova 7-6, 5-7, 6-4
Naomi Osaka has a potent serve and thunderbolt ground strokes, but the quality that has been more crucial than any other in both of her Grand Slam triumphs has been her mental strength.
While Serena Williams was berating officials in last year’s US Open final, Osaka proved that she had the ability to remain focused on her tennis in the most challenging of circumstances.
In recovering from the disappointment of losing the second set to Petra Kvitova here on Saturday in the Australian Open final, the 21-year-old Japanese demonstrated her ability to put setbacks behind her and start afresh. Picking herself up again after losing a set in which she had served for the match, Osaka recovered to win 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.
“This tournament was very eye-opening for me,” she said afterwards. “I had a lot of matches that were very tough and I was behind in some of them. I think it showed me that I could win matches from behind, just on willpower alone. I think I was able to save a lot of break points.”
Osaka had been in tears when she left the court for a toilet break after losing the second set. Asked how she had been able to regroup, she said: “I just thought to myself that this is my second time playing a final. I can’t really act entitled. To be playing against one of the best players in the world, to lose a set, suddenly think that I’m so much better than her, that that isn’t a possibility…
“I wanted to enjoy my time here. Last year I lost in the fourth round. Now this year I was in the final, so I wanted to be happy about that and just have no regrets.”