Petra Kvitova defeated Danielle Collins 7-6 (2), 6-0 to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title in 2014 while US Open 2018 winner Naomi Osaka downed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to reach the Australian Open final.
It's also the first in what she has called her "second career" following her return from injuries sustained in a home invasion in the Czech Republic in late 2016.
The 28-year-old Kvitova will play for the Australian Open title against either U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova.
Kvitova missed the Australian Open in 2017 while she was recovering from knife injuries to her left hand. Her best run at a major after returning at the French Open in 2017 was a quarterfinal at the U.S. Open that year.
The eighth-seeded Kvitova is now on an 11-match winning streak, after warming up for the Australian Open with a title run in Sydney.
Collins entered the Australian Open with an 0-5 record in Grand Slam matches, but took out three seeded players en route to the semifinals, including a 6-0, 6-2 win over three-time major winner Angelique Kerber.
The match started under clear skies but was delayed at 4-all in the first set while the retractable roof at Rod Laver Arena was closed with the temperature approaching 100 degrees (38 Celsius).
The first set was tight, containing one service break each, but Kvitova started to dominate in the cooler, indoor conditions. She won seven of nine games after the roof was closed.
Osaka on the other hand, reached back-to-back major finals and will now play another Czech for the Australian title on Saturday.
The champion in Australia will also assume the No. 1 ranking. For both Kvitova, who reached a career-high No. 2 ranking in October 2011, and Osaka, it would be a first time in top spot.
No.4 Naomi Osaka vs. Petra Kvitova.— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 24, 2019
- They’ve never played each other.
- Neither has been No.1
- Neither has won the Australian Open
All that changes on Saturday. #AusOpen
The fourth-seeded Osaka is aiming to be the first woman since Serena Williams to win consecutive major titles. Williams won four straight from the 2014 U.S. Open to Wimbledon in 2015.
Kvitova beat Danielle Collins 7-6 (2), 6-0 to return to a Grand Slam final for the first time since winning the Wimbledon title in 2014, and her first since sustaining injuries to her left hand in a home invasion in the Czech Republic in December 2016.
Seventh-seeded Pliskova, a U.S. Open finalist in 2016, had a stunning quarterfinal win over Serena Williams, coming back from 5-1 down in the third set and saving four match points to reach the last four.