The Japanese star became the first player from that country to rise to No. Osaka appeared to be on the verge of sweeping the final match as she took a lead in the second set after winning the first. However, she lost her rhythm while serving and Kvitova was able to rally back with four straight winning games.
Melbourne Park When is the Australian Open? With a full off-season under their belt, players arrive in Melbourne fresh and determined to put everything they have into the first Grand Slam of a long and energy-sapping season.
Novak Djokovic, now possessed of a record seven Australian Open titles, and Naomi Osaka, who became world no. Australian Open Players The 'Australian championships', the 'Happy Slam', the 'Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific' - the Australian Open wears many hats but even with the upheaval in the calendar promised by the new ATP Cup, there's one thing that is absolutely certain: The Australian Open will once again feature a full cast of the best players in the world.
The official entry list for the Australian Open won't be released for some time but here are some players who are certain to feature! Novak Djokovic World no.
Now holding 15 Grand Slams overall, Djokovic is rapidly closing the gap on rivals Federer and Nadal - will he continue to do so at the Australian Open? Naomi Osaka Having been ranked outside the top 70 12 months previously, Naomi Osaka completed a meteoric rise to the very top of the rankings when she won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, defeating Petra Kvitova in a thrilling three-set final.
The first player since Jennifer Capriati almost 20 years previously to win her first two major titles at back-to-back Grand Slams, the sky is surely the limit for Osaka - but will she still be holding the top spot when she returns to defend her title in ?
Rafael Nadal The champion Rafael Nadal once again fell short in his attempt to become the second man in the Open Era to win all Grand Slams at least twice when he was beaten by Djokovic in straight sets in the final - but his dominant run to the final without dropping a set shows there's plenty of life in Nadal's Australian Open career despite some tough luck with injuries.
Petra Kvitova Seven years after she reached her first Australian Open semifinal, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova did it again - and went one better, reaching her maiden Melbourne final without dropping a set in a series of dazzling performances.
The left-hander even staged a gallant fightback in the final, saving three championship points to drag Osaka to a third set. She said after the final that she wanted to win the title but had already won two years ago when she survived a knife attack in her home and managed to rebuild her career despite severe injuries to her playing hand - can she find the same magic in Melbourne in ?
Roger Federer The champion found himself on the losing end of a generation clash with new star Stefanos Tsitsipas - a man 17 years his junior - in the round of 16 and exited the Australian Open before the quarterfinals, then ignited speculation in some quarters and hysteria in others with his announcement that he would be playing the French Open in after skipping it in previous years.
If Federer, who by then will be 38, is back for the Australian Open - and he's given no indication that he won't be - he will still be a legitimate threat to win a seventh title. Serena Williams It was a dramatic Australian Open for Serena Williams in as she continued to chase down Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slams - but she left Melbourne still trailing by one, scoring a dazzling victory over top seed Simona Halep in the fourth round, but suffered a shocking letdown in her quarterfinal match against Karolina Pliskova, losing despite leading in the decider and holding three match points.
Williams is still searching for her absolute dominant best in the wake of maternity leave - would anyone really be willing to bet that she won't find it again by the time the Australian Open comes around?
Andy Murray This might be a long shot given that Andy Murray tearfully admitted he's facing the end of his playing career thanks to a hip injury which surgery has so far failed to repair - but the news that broke in the days following the Australian Open that he has undergone hip resurfacing, allowing for a slim ray of hope that we will see the five-time finalist lighting up Melbourne Park again in Simona Halep A finalist in , Simona Halep was the top seed in but it didn't do her any good where the draw was concerned as she was handed some truly terrible opening rounds.
The Romanian impressed with gritty wins over Kaia Kanepi, Sofia Kenin and Venus Williams before taking Serena Williams the distance, leaving no doubt in anyone's mind that the French Open champion will be a real contender for the Australian Open title in Stefanos Tsitsipas At a Australian Open which saw several men aged 22 or under going deep into the draw, including Australia's own Alex de Minaur and the USA's charismatic Frances Tiafoe, it was tousle-haired Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who staked a claim to be the brightest rising star in men's tennis.
Supported every inch of the way by Melbourne's substantial Greek community, Tsitsipas defeated Federer in four sets in the round of 16 and went on to make his first Grand Slam semifinal before losing to Nadal.
Expectations will be high for the offbeat young athlete in Ashleigh Barty Australia's own 'Ash' made her first Australian Open quarterfinal in after impressing with a win over Maria Sharapova.
The two-time Sydney finalist has established herself firmly into the top 15 over the past two years and her varied game continues to impress - could she be in the top 10 by the time the 'Barty Party' returns to Melbourne for the Australian Open?
These are just a handful of the stars who will be taking to the courts at the Australian Open - not to mention all the ones we don't know yet who will explode on to our screens with big upset wins!
Check back here for more information on the player field for the Australian Open throughout the season.
Australian Open Seeds The seeds for the Australian Open are not yet known - check back here for a full list once the draw is released!
Here are how the seeds fared at the Australian Open. AO 19 men's seeds.