The 11 Women who saved match point before winning a Grand Slam (Open era)
Naomi Osaka saved a match point earlier in the tournament and went on to win the Australian Open. Here is a list of others who fought off a match point before lifting a Grand Slam trophy.
Martina Navratilova – US Open 1986, SF
- The tournament :US Open 1986
- The champion :Martina Navratilova, the No 1 seed and heavy favorite
- The context :The Czech, of American origin, advanced to the semi-finals without dropping a single set. In the semis she faced Steffi Graf, 17, a rising star in the world of tennis.
- The key moment :Navratilova saved three match points against Graf, two at 4-5 and one in the final-set tiebreaker, before winning 6-1, 6-7, 7-6.
- The final :In the final, she defeated Helena Sukova 6-3, 6-2 for her 15th Grand Slam title.
Monica Seles – Australian Open 1991, SF
- The tournament :Australian Open 1991
- The champion :Monica Seles, the No 2 seed, who had won Roland-Garros the previous year
- The context :The Czech cruised through her first five rounds losing only 12 games in total. In the semi-finals, she faced American Mary Joe Fernandez.
- The key moment: Seles saved a match point at 5-6 in the final set against Fernandez. She went on to win 6-3, 0-6, 9-7.
- The final: In the final, she overcame Jana Novotna 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 for her second major title.
Jennifer Capriati – Australian Open 2002, final
- The tournament :Australian Open 2002
- The champion :Jennifer Capriati, the No 1 seed, was playing the best tennis of her career at the time. At 26 years old, she won the Australian Open and Roland-Garros the previous year.
- The context :After eliminating Amélie Mauresmo in the quarter-finals and Kim Clijsters in the semis, Capriati went up against No 3 seed Martina Hingis in the final.
- The key moment : On the brink of defeat down 5-3 in the second set, the American saved four match points. Having trailed by a set and 4-0 in the second, she turned the match around and ended up prevailing 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. That marked her third Grand Slam title.
Serena Williams – Australian Open 2003, SF
- The tournament :Australian Open 2003
- The champion :Serena Williams, the No 1 seed, was a big favourite in Australia
- The context :Before facing Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals, the American had come close to elimination against Frenchwoman Émilie Loit in the very first round.
- The key moment : In the semis, Williams saved two match points in the third set and proceeded to beat Clijsters 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
- The final : After battling hard to reach the final, Williams defeated her older sister, Venus Williams, also in three sets – 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.
Anastasia Myskina – Roland-Garros 2004, 4th round
- The tournament : Roland-Garros 2004
- The champion : Anastasia Myskina, the No 6 seed, was considered to be an outsider at Porte d’Auteuil
- The context : The 23-year-old Russian ran into Svetlana Kuznetsova, the No 7 seed, who looked like a tricky opponent in the round of 16.
- The key moment : In the final set against Kuznetsova, the two players were neck and neck. Myskina saved a match point at 5-6 and ended up prevailing 1-6, 6-4, 8-6.
- The final : A week later, Myskina rolled over Elena Dementieva 6-1, 6-2 to take the title in Paris.
Serena Williams – Australian Open 2005, SF
- The tournament : Australian Open 2005
- The champion : Serena Williams, the No 7 seed; fellow American Lindsay Davenport went into the tournament as the favourite.
- The context : With just one set lost to Nadia Petrova in the round of 16, the younger Williams’ 2005 Australian Open went off without a hitch before facing Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals. She had already lost to Sharapova twice.
- The key moment : The Russian served for the match at 5-4 in the final set but wasted three match points. Williams came back for a 2-6, 7-5, 8-6 victory.
- The final : The long-awaited duel with Davenport went Williams’ way in three sets (2-6, 6-3, 6-0). It was her seventh Grand Slam title.
Justine Hénin – Roland-Garros 2005, 4th round
- The tournament : Roland-Garros 2005
- The champion : Justine Hénin, the No 10 seed, had missed the Australian Open earlier in the year because of knee tendonitis.
- The context : The Belgian was looking for her form after dropping two sets on her way to the fourth round against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
- The key moment : Like Anastasia Myskina in 2004, it was once again Kuznetsova who could not put away a match in the Roland-Garros fourth round. In the third set, Henin saved two match points down 5-4 and eventually came away with a 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 victory.
- The final : A much more lopsided final saw Henin beat Mary Pierce 6-1, 6-1 for her second title at Roland-Garros.
Venus Williams – Wimbledon 2005, final
- The tournament : Wimbledon 2005
- The champion : Venus Williams, the No 14 seed, who had already won Wimbledon twice (2000 and 2001)
- The context : The elder Williams sister did not lose a set on her way to the final, most notably beating Maria Sharapova in the semis. To claim her third title in London, she would have to get past fellow American Lindsay Davenport.
- The key moment : At 5-6 in the second set, Williams saved a match point and broke Davenport’s serve. She eventually triumphed 4-6, 7-6, 9-7.
Serena Williams – Wimbledon 2009, SF
- The tournament : Wimbledon 2009
- The champion : Serena Williams, the No 2 seed, had already won 10 Grand Slams
- The context : The American had no trouble making it to the semi-finals, and No 4 seed Elena Dementieva also eased into the last four.
- The key moment : In the third set, the Russian served for a spot in the final at 5-4. She tightened up, however, and Williams saved a match point before coming back to win 6-7, 7-5, 8-6.
- The final : Two days later in the final, the younger Williams sister got the best of Venus 7-6, 6-2 for her 11th major title.
Li Na – Australian Open 2014
- The tournament : Australian Open 2014
- The champion : Li Na, the No 4 seed, who had lost the final in Melbourne one year earlier to Victoria Azarenka
- The context : After handing 6-0 sets to each of her first two opponents, Li found herself facing No 26 seed Lucie Safarova in the last 32
- The key moment : Li led 5-3 in the second set but eventually trailed 6-5 and faced a match point. She saved it, forced a third, and finally won 1-6, 7-6, 6-3.
- The final : Going up against No 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova, Li took the first set in a tiebreaker and then rolled through the second for a 7-6, 6-0 success. It was her second slam title, having previously triumphed at Roland-Garros in 2011.
Angélique Kerber – Australian Open 2016, 1st round
- The tournament : Australian Open 2016
- The champion : Angélique Kerber, the No 7 seed, was looking for her first Grand Slam title.
- The context : In the first round, the German opposed Masaki Doi, a Japanese player who was not expected to be a serious threat.
- The key moment : The No 6 player in the world unexpectedly came close to elimination, saving a match point in the second set against Doi. Kerber ended up surviving 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 to remain in contention.
- The final : Playing against Serena Williams, who was in her eighth consecutive Grand Slam final, Kerber produced an excellent display of tennis to triumph 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. It gave her a first-ever slam title.
Caroline Wozniacki – Australian Open 2018, second round
- The tournament : Australian Open 2018
- The champion : Caroline Wozniacki, No 2 in the world at the time, was one of five players who had reached No 1 despite having never won a Grand Slam.
- The context : Following an easy first round, the Dane went up against 19-year-old Croat Jana Fett.
- The key moment : Down 5-1 in the final set, Wozniacki was twice one point away from going down 6-1. However, she saved two match points on her opponent’s serve and completed an incredible comeback for a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory.
- The final :In a high-quality title match against Simona Halep, Wozniacki finally captured an elusive Grand Slam with a 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 triumph.
Naomi Osaka – Australian Open 2021, QF
- The tournament : Australian Open 2021
- The champion : Naomi Osaka, the No 3 seed, was among the favourites
- The context : Following three matches without a hitch, the Japanese star ran into trouble in the round of 16 against Garbine Muguruza, seeded No 14 and the runner-up at the 2020 Australian Open.
- The key moment : Trailing 5-3 in the final set, Osaka saved two match points to hold serve and then broke Muguruza for 5-5. She took the next two games, as well, for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 win.
- The final : In the final, Osaka played a clean match and ended the run of No 22 seed Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3. With that she achieved the US Open-Australian Open double, which she also did in 2018 and 2019.