Backing up first-time success on the major stage has not been the easiest task on the women’s tour over the past decade.
When Li Na made history and won Roland Garros in 2011, she lost in the Wimbledon second round a few weeks later. Petra Kvitova claimed her maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2011, then lost in the US Open first round straight after. Sam Stosur suffered a similar fate at the Australian Open in 2012, a few months after lifting the US Open trophy.
More recently, Angelique Kerber crashed out of her round one at Roland Garros in 2016, after she had claimed a tremendous victory at the Australian Open over Serena Williams in the final. Even last year’s champion in Melbourne, Caroline Wozniacki, hasn’t made it past the fourth round at a Slam since.
But then came Naomi Osaka – a soft-spoken, pensive, Japanese youngster with a fierce game that helped her etch her name in the history books as her country’s first-ever major singles champion when she won the US Open last September.
Back in a Grand Slam for the first time since, Osaka finds herself in the final of the Australian Open, carrying a 13-match winning streak at the majors into her championship match against Petra Kvitova on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Osaka is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win a maiden Grand Slam, then immediately back it up by reaching the final of her next one.