The Latest: Osaka takes 1st set in Aussie final vs Kvitova
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The Latest on Saturday at the Australian Open (all times local):
Naomi Osaka has won the first set 7-6 (2) in her Australian Open final against Petra Kvitova and is potentially one set from winning back-to-back major titles.
The U.S. Open champion had to save two break points in the fifth game and three in the seventh, when she came back from 0-40, to hold. From then on, she applied most of the pressure on Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner.
Kvitova saved two set points while serving to stay in the set and held with a backhand crosscourt winner to force the tiebreaker.
But the 21-year-old Osaka dominated the tiebreaker, earning another four set points when Kvitova netted a backhand and converting the first of those on another error from the Czech player.
The winner at Melbourne Park will also move to No. 1 for the first time when the next women’s rankings are released.
The women’s singles final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova has started, with the Australian championship and the No. 1 ranking at stake.
Osaka is serving first.
Neither player has ever won the title at Melbourne Park or been atop the WTA rankings.
U.S. Open champion Osaka is trying to win a second consecutive major. Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova hasn’t won a major since 2014.
Top-seeded Lorenzo Musetti of Italy survived a test of nerves to win the Australian boys’ singles title 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (12) over Emilio Nava of the United States.
Musetti watched five match points slip away in a third-set tiebreaker before he finally clinched his first major junior titles.
Musetti finally sealed the victory when Nava sent a forehand wide to end the 2-hours, 7-minute contest on Rod Laver Arena.
It continued the steady Grand Slam juniors progress of Musetti, who reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year and was runner-up in the U.S. Open.
Musetti had the bonus of getting his victory endorsed by Novak Djokovic shortly after the trophy presentation.
The pair crossed paths in a corridor beneath the main stadium after Djokovic had finished a practice session to prepare for Sunday’s men’s final.
“He just said congratulations. He knew that I lost in the final in New York, so he told me ‘you have a good mental trainer,‘” Musetti said. “I just said ‘I learned from you.’ I gave him, like, a good luck for the final.”
No. 13-seeded Nava had chances to win the title when he led 8-7 and 12-11 in the tiebreaker.
Ivan Lendl watched the final from his Nava’s player box, and later presented the trophy to Musetti.
For Nava, his first time past the second round at a major was an important experience.
“It felt really fun,” he said of the tiebreaker, “but kind of didn’t move my feet as much, started shanking a little more.”
Dylan Alcott has won his fifth Australian Open quad wheelchair singles title with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory over David Wagner of the United States on Rod Laver Arena.
It was a seventh Grand Slam quad wheelchair title for the 28-year-old Alcott, who also beat Wagner in last year’s U.S. Open final.
Wagner, a six-time Grand Slam quad wheelchair titlist, rallied from 5-2 down in the second set before Alcott dominated the tiebreaker.
Alcott is a popular figure in Australia as a multi-sport Paralympic gold medalist who regularly appears on television and in advertising for one the Australian Open’s sponsors.
“I remember I was 14 and I was lying in bed, and all I wanted to do was make it in the mainstream in some way,” Alcott told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, the center court at Melbourne Park. “I wanted to show that people with disability can be elite at what they do. This match was broadcast into every single TV in Australia. That meant a lot to me.”
Alcott thanked the crowd and said it was a great way to celebrate Australia Day, the national holiday.
“It’s been great for me, but I want it to be great for a lot more people than just me.”
Top-seeded Clara Tauson of Denmark has beaten fourth-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3 to win the girls’ title at the Australian Open.
Tauson said she was inspired by Caroline Wozniacki’s run to the Australian Open title last year, which was the Danish player’s breakthrough at a Grand Slam tournament.
“I’ve practiced with her,” Tauson said. “She’s a big inspiration for everyone in Denmark playing tennis and other sports.”
Tauson has won 12 straight junior matches since her exit at the U.S. Open girls’ tournament in the round of 32.
Fernandez reached the semifinals at the French Open junior tournament last year and the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.
Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova meet in the Australian Open final with a championship and the No. 1 ranking at stake.
Neither has ever won the title at Melbourne Park or been atop the WTA rankings.
Saturday’s matchup is also the first time they have played against each other.
Osaka is trying to win a second consecutive major trophy to go along with the one she earned at the U.S. Open last September. She also would be the first player from Japan to be No. 1.
Kvitova seeks her third Grand Slam title — and the first since she was stabbed in the hand by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic a little more than two years ago.