Bang, boom: Naomi Osaka & Petra Kvitova reach final

Petra Kvitova

FROM THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN, JANUARY 24 – Whether or not Naomi Osaka wins the title on Saturday, it is clear that she hits the ball both sides and absolutely nails it. There are times when she is a little bit nervous, and she can over-hit it, but in the same time, she keeps going for her shots.
On Thursday, she edged Karolina Pliskova  6-2, 4-6, 6-4. It was very tight in the third set. Just like she did in the 2018 US Open final, at 5-4, versus Serena Williams, she aced it, twice, and smacked a winner. She was not shaking in her boots. Over the past nine months, she has been brilliant, stable, and on top of the ball. Osaka rarely backs off. She hit 56 winners. Ka-boom.

Pliskova thought she had it, she was close, but the Japanese kept raising her game.

“I believe she played unbelievable match. To be honest, maybe her best in (her) life” the Czech said. “I don’t think she can repeat match like this. Amount of winners what she had, she just had very little mistakes. I don’t think I did actually something wrong. I had some chances, of course I had. The chances, they were not in my hands at all. There was not much what I could do. I was just fighting, waiting for a couple of mistakes, waiting for my shots to be aggressive. I got the chance to go to the third set. Had a couple of breakpoints. Didn’t make it. She served amazing today.”
Yes she did. She is a very funny person, off-court, but on-court. She leaps at the ball,is pretty agile and quick.

She will face Petra Kvitova, who easily knocked down the American Danielle Collins 7-6, 6-0. Kvitova,has been here before, in 2012, when she was moving up, with some deep and hard swings. She was very strong, and ambitious, but in the semis, Maria Sharapova kept coming, and she clubbed it all the time. Sharapova won it in three sets.
Now, many years later, Kvitova is back in a Grand Slam final. She won it twice, at Wimbledon, on grass, but on the hard courts, it is a little bit different. A couple of years ago, she could play great one day, and then not so much the next day; she would mentally disappear. But not anymore. She is a little bit more mature and she really thinks about what’s going on inside her head. Now she can become No. 1 if she takes the final. 

“I was still top 10, which I don’t think it’s that bad. But I just didn’t really have the chances in the Grand Slams,” Kvitova said. “I think afterwards I have been a little bit more mature to win the second title in Wimbledon was, much more sweeter for me, kind of be able to repeat it. I’m not sure if I’m more mature now, but I think it’s the life process, which everybody is going through, and I think it’s the same with me.”

Nadal steamrolls Tsitsipas

On Thursday night, Rafa Nadal destroyed Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. That was surprising, considering that the Greek stunned Roger Federer, and some other good players, but it wasn’t to be again. I am sure he was tired, and maybe he was a little hurt, but still, he was pretty slow and shaky. Nadal has been around for almost 15 years and has won 17 Grand Slams. He could win another one on Sunday. Tsitsipas is the best young players right now, but winning a major this year? I am not reallysure during the season, but he might find another level.