By Ros Satar, in Melbourne
- Naomi Osaka  def. Karolina Pliskova  6-2 4-6 6-4
- Number one and a first Australian Open slam is on the cards for Osaka or Petra Kvitova
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – US Open champion Naomi Osaka has a chance to make it back to back Slam titles as she edged Karolina Pliskova for a final berth.
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Naomi Osaka  def. Karolina Pliskova  6-2 4-6 6-4
Facing Naomi Osaka, the pair had a decent head to head with the Czech ahead 2-1, and Osaka was the earliest to settle the nerves with an early break before the first sit-down. Osaka made sure of the advantage with another break in the penultimate game before closing out the first set.
Trading breaks at the start of the second set, Pliskova rallied to fend off three break points before a competitive set ended with a break from the Czech to seal the second set and level the match.
Pliskova may come to rue the three break point chances that she had over the Osaka serve, but that might have weighed on her mind as Osaka came back t her to break to love. With that advantage, Pliskova had just one more chance to get back on terms, but failed to convert her chance. Osaka made no such mistake on her one and only match point a couple of games later.
After the game, Pliskova said: “That’s tough question. I believe she played unbelievable match. To be honest, maybe her best in the life. I don’t think she can repeat match like this. Amount of winners what she had, she just had very little mistakes. I don’t think I did actually something wrong. I had some chances, of course I had. The chances, they were not in my hands at all. There was not much what I could do.
“I was just fighting, waiting for a couple of mistakes, waiting for my shots to be aggressive. I got the chance to go to the third set. Had a couple of breakpoints. Didn’t make it. She served amazing today.
“I think the conditions with the roof closed were perfect for her. Not that it would be bad for me, but she just loved it maybe little bit more. Yeah, it was tough. Maybe couple points there would be different. I’m not upset with myself just that I lost.”
Who will win the Women’s singles title at the Australian Open 2019
Osaka now finds herself meeting Petra Kvitova for the first time, and in a Slam final to boot.
She told reporters: “I don’t necessarily think I played the best I’ve ever played. I mean, for me, what I take away from this is that I never gave up, and that’s something that I’m really proud of myself for.
“There are moments in the match where I thought, like, This is getting really close. I just thought I wouldn’t forgive myself if I had, like, a little dip or a moment of accepting defeat.
“For me, my main goal is winning this tournament. I think the ranking comes after that. I tend to do better if I focus on one goal.”
Osaka and Kvitova play the Women’s final of the Australian Open on Saturday.
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