2 years after stabbing, Kvitova into Australian Open final

Spectators watch the women's semifinal between Japan's Naomi Osaka and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Rod Laver Arena after the stadium's roof was closed due to the extreme heat in Melbourne
Australian Open Women's Day 11 tips predictions Pliskova v Osaka
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25 January, 2019

Kvitova looked there for the taking in a tough first set, but the decision to close the roof with the match poised at 4-4 seemed to help settle the Czech, who closed down the match superbly 7-6 (7-2), 6-0 with powerful serving and clever ground strokes.

Beating Serena Williams from four matchpoints down barely 24 hours ago left Karolina Pliskova both physically and emotionally drained and the Czech said she was low on energy in her Australian Open semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka on Thursday.

The tenth day in Melbourne and, once again, the Australian Open 2019 give us a big surprise.

Petra Kvitova stands on the verge of completing one of the bravest comebacks in tennis after ending the fairytale run of unseeded American Danielle Collins to reach her first Australian Open final.

The 2016 U.S. Open finalist played five matches en route to her title win in Brisbane before pulling out of the Sydney International warm-up event before arriving at Melbourne Park.

"Every time I hit a good serve or win the point there´s something", she told umpire Carlos Ramos, the same official who was the subject of Serena Williams´ infamous rant in last year´s US Open final.

"I know she's the greatest ever, but I don't want to put her somewhere where I would not have a chance to beat her", she said in explaining how she approached the match.

Osaka is bidding to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2015 to win the USA and Australian Opens back to back.

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"There is a lot of great things to build off of, and I think I had a really great learning experience throughout the entire tournament, and especially today", Collins said.

Osaka has become the first female player to reach the final at her next Slam following a maiden major win since American Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Coming into the match as one of the biggest servers in the women's game, Pliskova managed three aces in the match while the Japanese reeled off 15, often coming up with unreturned serves to win the crucial points.

"It means everything", Kvitova said.

Osaka has now won 59 straight matches when winning the first set and also trumped Pliskova on the service front. The victor will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is now No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. If it was open I was still going to fight'. I'm the only tennis player playing with a metal hip.

Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners - and held on when it all could have slipped away.

Kvitova was dominant in the second set, and Collins only broke her serve once throughout the match. But don't sleep on Kvitova: She has yet to drop a set this tournament.

Osaka crucially dug in to save three break points, before breaking to love in the following game and then fighting off another break point at 4-3 with an ace.


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