Melbourne CNN  — 

When the women’s final at the Australian Open was over, Li Na did the honors in presenting the Daphne Akhurst trophy to Naomi Osaka who had just downed Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4 in a dramatic, high-quality affair.

Perhaps that was fitting – China’s tennis trailblazer figuratively passing the torch to Japan’s Osaka who is one of Asia’s biggest sports stars and figures to be a major force globally, too, for many, many years to come.

She will also become the new world No. 1 on Monday, the first player from her nation to ever achieve the feat.

And Osaka sure had to show her resolve to prevail in Melbourne on Australia Day after missing out on three consecutive match points at 5-3 in the second set.

Naomi Osaka hoists the Australian Open trophy Saturday.

READ: Nadal 2.0 hitting new heights

READ: Kvitova, Osaka battle for women’s title

Rare feat

Osaka has now matched the soon-to-be Hall of Famer Li in majors on two and did something not witnessed in the women’s game in 18 years, landing her first two grand slam titles back-to-back.

The 21-year-old is only the sixth female player in the Open Era to do so, joining Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, Hana Mandlikova, Venus Williams and most recently, Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Goolagong looked on from Rod Laver Arena while Evert has been in Melbourne commentating for ESPN.

Asked why she was able to back up her maiden major when others have struggled, Osaka replied: “When I play my match, everything else is completely not in my mind anymore. For me grand slams are something you dream about playing as a kid.

“I don’t ever want to waste this opportunity. So those are the biggest motivating factors for me.”

This time Osaka was presumably able to fully enjoy the moment, unlike at the US Open in September when controversy erupted in her tussle with Serena Williams through no fault of her own.

Boos rained down from the crowd in the Big Apple during the trophy ceremony after Williams clashed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the second set.

A different drama back then, little to do with winners or unforced errors.