Fourth seed Naomi Osaka of Japan has outplayed seventh seed Karolina Pliskova to set up an Australian Open final against Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova. The 21-year-old Japanese star won 6-2 4-6 6-4 to reach a second straight Grand Slam decider after winning the US Open last year.
"I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can. I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!' Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph.
Earlier, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova marched into her first Grand Slam final in five years after a 7-6(2) 6-0 win over surprise semi-finalist Danielle Collins in the first semi-final at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday. This is the first time that Kvitova is featuring in the Australian Open second week since a semifinal showing in 2012. The 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion is a 26-time winner on the WTA tour and has won her last eight finals. Clearly, ominus signs for Naomi come Saturday.
The Japanese, on her part, is bidding to become the first player to win back-to-back Grand Slam trophies since Serena Williams in 2015. The winner of the Australian Open women's singles final will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time. Osaka is currently No. 4, and Kvitova is No. 6.