Barbora Krejcikova-Rajeev Ram Win Australian Open Mixed Doubles Title

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Osaka had three championship points as Kvitova served at 3-5, 0-40 in set two, but the Japanese was pegged back in sensational fashion inside Rod Laver Arena. "At the same time I was just trying to focus on playing the match".

On what's been a wonderful comeback after being the victim of a knife attack two years ago, she added: 'It's hurting a lot today.

'For me, every practice and every match that I've played, it feels like the year is short and long at the same time.

Osaka's achievement was accompanied by a series of firsts - including her being the first Asian player to top the world tennis singles rankings - and also the first woman to win her first two Grand Slams back to back since Jennifer Capriati at the turn of the century. "You've been through so much, honestly I wouldn't have wanted this to be our first match", Osaka said.

On Monday, when the new tennis rankings are updated, the Japanese-born Osaka, who is now ranked No. 5 in the world, will move all the way to the top, becoming the first Asian player of any gender to hold the No. 1 spot, according to The Telegraph.

Osaka shed tears after losing the second set from a 5-3 lead but returned to court after a washroom break calmer and more composed. "Just thank you everyone and I am really honoured to have played in this final". "Behind a tennis player is always a team so I'm really grateful", she continued, before concluding her speech by admitting she had forgotten a bit of what she was "supposed to say".

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For Kvitova, the loss will sting, but she must be proud to have returned to a Grand Slam final regardless of the result. The new world number one's status as the brightest young star in tennis can be in no doubt.

It was at this break in play, just before the third and deciding set got underway, that she delivered herself a simple message: have no regrets.

Australian media this week published gruesome photographs of her injured hand, with the flesh sliced open and the tip of the index finger nearly cut off. But mostly, thank you for sticking with me even when we didn't know if I would able to hold a racquet again.

Osaka had struggled to read Kvitova's serve early on, but soon gained the upper hand and looked to be winning a battle of the forehands as she forged ahead.

"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..." She is the first woman to win back-to-back Majors, other than Serena Williams, since Kim Clijsters at the beginning of this decade. The Japanese player was nerveless in reeling off five straight points when she outrallied her opponent.

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