Osaka beats Pliskova to reach second straight grand slam final

Japan's Naomi Osaka hits a return against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova during their women's singles semi-final match on day 11 of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 24, 2019

Melbourne: Fourth seed Japanese player Naomi Osaka advanced to the Australian Open final after beating Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 on Thursday.

Osaka took one hour and 40 minutes to beat seventh seed Pliskova to make it to her second straight grand slam final. She won the US Open in 2018, reports Efe news.

The Japanese once again needed three sets - she also had three-set contests in earlier rounds of the tournament - to overcome Karolina Pliskova, who pulled off stunning wins against Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza on her way to the semis.

Osaka, who temporarily tops the WTA rankings, could become the first Japanese player to hold the No.1 ranking if she beats 8th seed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic in the final.

The final, which will be the first time Osaka and Kvitova play each other, will also be a battle for the No.1 ranking after the elimination of Pliskova, the only other player in the running for the top of the table.