Osaka, the 2019 Open Champion, appeared doomed for an earlier than expected exit during the final set 15-40 on their serve against Muguruza – the 14th Saat and two-time Grand Slam champion

But the No. 3 seeds showed that she really is a tennis champion and created near-flawless excitement in the back of the third set for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win on the high profile Wippspiel, in which both women played with relentless intensity, was arguably the best tournament for women this year

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The win bodes well for Osaka’s chances of winning a second Australian Open as they have won the title every time they made it through the round of 16 in a Grand Slam

In a muted celebration, a relieved Osaka gave a fist pump after the final point of the tense game and then put a towel over her head to enjoy the enormity of her moment because she had just lost four points in a row to two match points before breaking Muguruza’s serve twice to seal victory

Tennis writer Ben Rothenberg pointed out that after Osaka made three casual mistakes to lose two match points, she didn’t make another casual mistake for the game’s remaining 22 points, including seven winners to Muguruzas

“This is huge from Naomi Osaka,” said former Australian player Casey Dellacqua in a commentary for Channel 9

It’s hard to see a better match for all tournaments. How Osaka did it is unclear #AusOpen

“There is no better feeling than surviving a match when you have had to prove such resilience with two fewer match points

Before Sunday’s game, three-time Grand Slam champion Osaka hadn’t lost a set in the tournament but Muguruza made an early statement to take the first 6-4 – and after Osaka hit back to give the second set win, Muguruza was ready to claim an angry victory

But Osaka’s strategy of playing with certainty in defending the two match points paid off The ninth game of the third set and the next three games secured an unlikely comeback win

“Garbine Muguruza, she should be so proud of herself that she played a great match. If she’d faced others in the fourth round, you couldn’t help but feel like she’d made further progress” said Dellacqua

Tom Rehn, Channel 9 commentator, added, “She will feel like this is a missed opportunity that will sting for her for some time”

After the game, Osaka admitted that Muguruza “intimidated her a bit” who “played really well”

“I didn’t really know what to expect because I had never played it before, but I just knew it was going to be difficult,” said Osaka

“I made a lot of casual mistakes, but I felt like I had to do something because I couldn’t give her short balls because she was going to end it””

Osaka’s great escape prepares a match with Taiwanese veteran Hsieh Su-wei, who reached her first Grand Slam quarter-finals after 16 years of trying and was the oldest player to make the debut of the last eight in the Open Era

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World news – AU – Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka defeats Garbine Muguruza, highlights, next game