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Osaka summons inner Serena as she ponders 'Naomi Slam'

 

By Eleanor Crooks

Naomi Osaka admitted her mind has already wandered to the possibility of a 'Naomi Slam' after she won her second consecutive major title at the Australian Open on Saturday.

The 21-year-old from Japan followed up her US Open triumph by beating Petra Kvitova in a dramatic final at Melbourne Park.

The victory also earned Osaka the world number one ranking and, after two years of unpredictability, it appears the women's game finally has a new star it can rely on.

So could Osaka follow in the footsteps of her idol Serena Williams by holding all four slam titles at the same time?

"You guys know the French Open's next, right," she said with a chuckle. "I love that clay court.

"I'm not going to lie and say that thought hasn't crossed my mind, but I don't know. I feel like I have to take it one tournament at a time, especially since Indian Wells is coming up and I won that tournament last year so I feel like I have to think about that."

By lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, Osaka was ­literally fulfilling a dream having found her subconscious predicting the moment during the tournament.

"With things like that, you don't want to overthink it, and you don't want to jinx it, so you never really talk about it," she said.

"But definitely I had some very vivid dreams. It was intense. I take it as a sign. For example, I was practising on Rod Laver one day and right before that they were doing some sort of movie shots with the trophy and I was able to see it for the first time. I was like, 'I really want this'."

The most frightening thing for the rest of the field is that Osaka did not even find her best ­tennis for the greater part of the tournament but was then able to show a champion's ­ability to fight through the difficult moments, not least when three match points slipped through her fingers in the second set against Kvitova.

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