This time last year, Osaka was ranked 72, a talent and someone people expected to do well in the future. A year on she owns two grand slams, as well as the Indian Wells title, and she is the No 1 for the first time.
If it all seems to have happened fast from the outside, that’s not how Osaka sees it. “To me it doesn’t,” she said. “For me, every practice and every match that I've played, it feels like the year is short and long at the same time. But I'm aware of all the work that I put in. I know all the sacrifices that every player does to stay at this level. I mean, in my opinion, it didn't feel fast. It felt kind of long.”
Kvitova had her chances, break points in the first set going begging before Osaka snatched it on the tiebreak, 7-2 and she had a chance to break back for 3-3 in the third.
But having missed her chance in the second set, Osaka was not going to make the same mistake again and she served out for a famous victory.
“I think as a whole, this tournament was very eye-opening for me,” she said. “I had a lot of matches that were very tough and I was behind in some of them. I think it showed me that I could win matches from behind, just on willpower alone.”