Palmerbet Sports Team’s daily preview goes to the net with Australian Open tips for a fascinating women’s final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova.
19:30 (AEDT), Fri 26th Jan @ Melbourne Park
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: Naomi Osaka is aiming to become the first woman to win back-to-back majors since Serena Williams in 2015. Petra Kvitova is hunting her first grand slam title since the same the year. With both players in dominant form, the 2019 Australian Open final shapes as a cracker.
The 28-year-old Kvitova could hardly have been more impressive. She has won all six matches in straight sets, dropping no more than six games in each. After her brutal 6-1 6-4 quarter-final destruction of Ash Barty, she overwhelmed shock semifinalist Danielle Collins 7-6 6-0.
Kvitova’s charge has come on the back of winning the Sydney International. She is on the cusp of a spectacular 18-month comeback since a home invasion attack forced her to miss the 2017 Australian Open and threatened her career.
Osaka has displayed determination and poise beyond her 21 years to back up the hype of her US Open success. Her path to the final has been tougher, going to three sets three times.
After coming from a set down to beat 13th seed Anastasija Sevastova in the fourth round, fourth seed Osaka made short work of in-form sixth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarters, 6-4 6-1. The Japanese gun outlasted Karolina Pliskova 6-2 4-6 6-4 in the semis.
Osaka is into her second straight grand slam final – stunning Serena Williams in the US Open final – but had not previously been past the fourth round. Kvitova is 2-0 in grand slam finals, winning the 2011 and ’14 Wimbledon deciders.
This is Kvitova’s first match against a player seeded higher than 15th in this tournament. Osaka is certain to push her harder than at any stage of the past fortnight. But Kvitova’s awesome form at the service line – with Osaka’s serve letting her down at various stages – shapes as her trump card.
Five of the last nine Australian Open women’s finals have gone to three sets. We’re tipping this one to do the same.