The Australian Open Women’s Final promises to be a hard hitting affair with Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova facing off for the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. In addition to the winner moving up to 2 of the 4 slams, the World No.1 ranking is up for grabs too. Osaka could have been confirmed No.1 regardless of result had Kvitova not won her semi-final, instead the stakes are doubled. Check out the Kvitova vs Osaka H2H stats.
Kvitova has been in stunning form this fortnight, not dropping a set in the whole tournament. She has definitely been fortunate with the draw, having played just one seed in six matches, but has dealt with her opponents with minimal fuss. Danielle Collins was the closest to a set against Kvitova, taking the Czech to a tiebreak and also holding a break lead earlier before falling to defeat, 7-6 6-0. Making to a slam final for the first time in 5 years is a remarkable turn of events for Kvitova, who was unsure she would play again after suffering a knife attack just over 2 years ago. “It’s been five years. You know, that’s why I worked pretty hard to be back there. It just taste very great. So I’m really happy to be back there again.” she said.
Osaka was a bit shaky in the middle rounds of the tournament but has stepped it up a notch in her last two matches to see of two top 10 players in Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova. Hitting 56 winners in the the 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory over Pliskova was mightily impressive, taking it to an opponent who had been playing at a very high level this fortnight. Osaka could have been forgiven for falling apart having been taken to a third set from a set and break up but she showed major toughness to come back in the third after picking up the early break. The way in which she has been able to back up her US Open title is rarely seen in veterans, never mind relative newbies to the tour in the way that Osaka is.
Osaka doesn’t shy away from the big stage if 2018 is anything to go by. She won the two biggest tournaments in North America, with that win over Serena Williams at the US Open so impressive in the circumstances. Kvitova has a stunning record in finals, going 24-7 at tour level. That includes a current eight match winning streak, dating back to Birmingham – the first title she won after her return to the tour. “As I said on the court, I really love playing finals. I love playing on the big stages. It will be one of them. I really look forward to.” she said.
It will be the first time the pair have played but Osaka is ready and aware of the threat facing her on the other side of the court. “I’ve watched her play the Wimbledon finals. I know what a great player she is. It’s definitely going to be very tough for me.” she said.
Prediction – Petra Kvitova in three sets