From outsider to number one – the rapid rise of Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka has come a long way in a short space of time, soaring from an outsider to top the rankings after back-to-back major triumphs.

Naomi Osaka was languishing 72nd in the rankings 12 months ago without a title to her name.

What a difference a year has made for the Japanese sensation.

The 21-year-old produced her best run at a grand slam at the 2018 Australian Open and has since soared to astonishing new heights.

Osaka beat Serena Williams to claim her first major title last September and sensationally sealed back-to-back major triumphs with a defeat of Petra Kvitova at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

The magnificent Osaka also secured world number one status for the first time by beating Kvitova 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 in a pulsating final.

We look at Osaka’s rapid rise from outsider to the best female player on the planet over the last year.

 

January 2018 – Takes out home hope Ashleigh Barty to reach the fourth round for the first time at a major before falling to Simona Halep in the Australian Open.

March 2018 – Claims her first WTA title at the expense of Daria Kasatkina at Indian Wells, where she also defeated Maria Sharapova, Karolina Pliskova and Halep to close in on the top 20.

June 2018 – Shows promise on grass with a run to the semi-finals of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham.

September 2018 – Sensationally wins the first grand slam of her fledgling career with a shock defeat of Williams in a dramatic US Open final, also moving into top 10 for the first time.

September 2018 – Follows up her stunning exploits in New York with a run to the Tokyo Open, losing to Pliskova in the final on home soil.

October 2018 – Marches to the semi-finals of the China Open before suffering a straight-sets loss to Anastasija Sevastova.

October 2018 – Plays in the WTA Finals for the first time, but loses in all three round-robin matches.

January 2018 – Starts her season by warming up for the Australian Open with a run to the last four of the Brisbane International, with Lesia Tsurenko denying her a place in the final.

January 2018 – Shows she was made for the big stage again by toppling Kvitova to become a two-time major champion and replace Halep as world number one.

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