Published: 21:57 GMT, Jan 24, 2019 |
Kvitova and Japan’s Naomi Osaka will play for the Australian Open title — and world No. 1 ranking — after both won their Thursday semifinals in scorching Melbourne.
Kvitova was the first to progress, seeing off the unseeded, fiery Danielle Collins 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 before Osaka edged Serena Williams’ conqueror, Karolina Pliskova, 6-2 4-6 6-4, to become the first Japanese woman to make the Australian Open final.
It is Kvitova’s first grand slam final since the stabbing in Prostejov.
“Not very many people believe that I could do that again, stand on the court and play tennis and kind of play at this level,” Kvitova told reporters. “It was just really a few of them, I think.”
Kvitova’s attacker held a knife to her throat and while fighting him off, she suffered extensive stab wounds to her left, playing hand. Hours of surgery followed.
As of yet there hasn’t been a conviction in the case.
Come Saturday, one of Kvitova or Osaka will be a debutant Aussie Open winner and duly end the reign of Simona Halep, whose 48-week stay at No. 1 concludes Monday. Osaka would become the first Japanese player to get there.
The duel between Kvitova and Osaka — she is also a fan favorite — promises to be hard hitting and the Czech, in particular, will take some stopping.
Why? She enters the final on an 11-match winning streak and her record in finals is a remarkable 26-7.
“I think it feels better knowing kind of this, that I do have a better percentage of winning than losing in the final,” she said.