On Saturday, the tennis world witnessed a tremendous Australian Open Finals match between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova. These two women battled it out on the court for over two and a half hours before Osaka was able to win the war of attrition 7-6, 5-7, 6-4.
For Osaka, this was a historic moment as she will now become the first Japanese player to be ranked number 1 in the world when the rankings come out on Monday. It’s a dramatic improvement from being ranked 72nd overall, at this same time last year.
By winning the Australian Open, Osaka has now won two straight Grand Slam titles. Unfortunately, her first ever Grand Slam title win was marred by controversy after she defeated Serena Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open.
Nevertheless, Osaka has become the first woman in 18 years to have won her first two career Grand Slam titles in back-to-back tournaments. And, she accomplished this by defeating the GOAT last year and out-slugging a former two-time Wimbledon champ on Saturday.
As mentioned, she had won the final Grand Slam of 2018 by defeating her idol, Serena Williams. However, prior to this year, Osaka hasn’t fared well in Australia as she’s never made it past the 4th Round and had a career record of 6-3 in Melbourne. That all changed in 2019, as Osaka is now on top of the sport.
Naomi quickly dispatched of her first two opponents in straight set fashion before running into some difficulties in the 3rd Round against Su-Wei Hsieh and the 4th Round against Anastasija Sevastova.
Both women were ranked in the top 28 and forced Osaka to three grueling sets each. Naomi bounced back in the Quarterfinals by smashing one of the favorites in #6 Elina Svitolina. In the Semifinals, she had another 3 set battle, this time against #7 Karolina Pliskova.
After three tough matches out of her last four, Osaka saved her best performance for last as she participated in a three-match war against #8 Kvitova with the trophy on the line. Osaka won the first set in a tiebreaker, dropped the second, and had to fend off Petra numerous times to win the third set.
At 21 years old, Osaka has quickly ascended up the rankings. From 72nd in early 2018 to the top 5 last October, Osaka has the potential to become the best of her generation.
“But the scariest thing about Naomi is how much better she can get.”
Early 2019 French Open Betting Odds
Despite having won two straight Grand Slam titles, and becoming the new #1 women’s tennis player in the world, Betway has listed Osaka at +1000 odds for the next Grand Slam tournament – the French Open.
I understand there are a few months between now and the next Grand Slam, but Osaka has etched her name among the elite in the sport today. Currently, she’s listed as the 4th odds on favorite at most online betting sites.
Simona Halep (+500), who will be replaced by Osaka as the #1 ranked tennis player, is the odds on favorite to win the 2019 French Open as she won this tournament in 2018. However, Halep only has 1 career Grand Slam title and Osaka now has two.
Garbine Muguruza (+700) is listed as the second favorite to win the next Grand Slam, as she’s the 2016 French Open winner. However, it’s been over 18 months since Garbine last won a Grand Slam, which was also the last time she was even in the Finals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Muguruza has two career Grand Slam titles (2016 French Open, 2017 Wimbledon), but has barely cracked the 4th Round of a major tournament since then.
Lastly, Serena Williams is the final women’s tennis player listed higher than Osaka as a betting favorite.
Williams (+750) is a 3-time French Open winner, having last won in 2015. However, she did make it to the Finals in 2016, but lost to Muguruza. And, we all know by now that Osaka defeated Williams the last time they squared off in a Grand Slam tournament.
Osaka Is Now Part of the Elite
There’s no mistaking it, Naomi Osaka is now part of the elite group of women tennis players in the world today. With her second straight Grand Slam tournament win, Naomi has ensured that she’s not just another one hit wonder.
Additionally, by winning two consecutive Grand Slams, she has risen above players like Muguruza, Halep and Kvitova as a player who can win now, not every now and then.
With Osaka’s debut at #1 on Monday, she becomes the youngest woman to reach the top ranking in the world since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. Osaka made the following comments about being the new #1 ranked player:
“I’m beyond excited to become the new WTA World No.1. I’ve always dreamt of being in this position and I am honored to be part of the elite group of players who have reached the No.1 ranking.”
It didn’t take long before some of the sport’s legends to publicly recognize the special talent that Osaka is both on and off the court. Legendary women’s tennis player Chris Evert, the first ever woman to be ranked #1 by the WTA, made the following proclamations about Naomi’s recent success:
“Naomi is an exemplary person both on and off the court who carries forth the virtues that the Chris Evert WTA World No.1 Trophy represents. Winning back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments is a rare and special achievement, and I’m thrilled these results have propelled Naomi to the top of the women’s game.”
Evert would go on to say how she can’t wait to see what the future holds for Osaka. That’s a sentiment that many of us share. One thing is for certain, the future of women’s tennis is much brighter with the prospects of Naomi Osaka leading the sport.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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