Who would have thought six months ago that we would be talking about the possibility of an ‘Osaka slam’? A US Open and Australian Open later that is where we are at. Not a bad way to prove you aren’t a one slam wonder. The Japanese player once again excelled when her back was against the wall. It would have been easy to completely blow up having led by a set and 5-3 and having 0-40 on the Kvitova serve (three match points). She did momentarily, as Kvitova reeled off 4 straights games from there for the set but she got it out of the system, with a cry and then she reset.
Although I have said Kvitova had a tough draw coming into this, she did, but it was a draw that kept her on her toes. Osaka is a level or two above that right now, even when she doesn’t play well in the slams, she is finding a way to win. That is a bit harsh on Ash Barty, but I think it is true. She was able to make Kvitova the more uncomfortable of the two and get her off balance. There was the big hitting you would expect from these two today and numerous winners, 66 to be exact. Sharing 33 a piece but Osaka had that little bit more at the big moments.
It is difficult to see how Osaka won’t add to the tally of two. Will there be a slight blip now for the 21-year-old? Time will tell. On a ‘average week’ I think there may well be. The French is winnable but I think it is a big ask, Coral go 14/1 top price, she is a general 10/1 poke. She will like her chances at Wimbledon but I can think of two opponents that will be gunning for her there. The two that have lost out in the New York and now Melbourne. Unsurprisingly, the betting suggests likewise. With the fast court players on show currently, Wimbledon is looking like it could be an absolute cracker this year.
We now move on to the men’s final tomorrow, like today’s final, I very much doubt it will fail to disappoint. Lets ave it!!
Andy Del Potro