Osaka loses Pan Pacific Open final

Ruben Holloway
September 26, 2018

In Tokyo, playing in her first tournament since upsetting Serena Williams to win the US Open on September 8, third-seeded Osaka hadn't dropped a set previous to yesterday's final but was frustrated from the outset by the big-serving Czech player.

This will be the third Tour-level meeting between Osaka and Pliskova and the second this year. She served well against Vekic, making 78% of her first serves, winning 71% of those points, and will need to find similar numbers against Osaka who she can not match off the ground.

"I think [my serve] got me out of a lot of trouble today", said Osaka, who has now won 10 matches on the trot.

Osaka's victory in front of an expectant home crowd was her 10th in a row and did not look in doubt from the moment she pounded down a huge ace with her first serve of the match.

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"She has basically every shot and she has a really good serve, so I know it will be a very hard match". Pliskova won over Naomi Osaka of Japan in the final, 6-4, 6-4.

After saving two match points against American qualifier Alison Riske in the last round, and coming back from a set down against Daria Gavrilova earlier in the tournament, Pliskova had to go the distance once again, needing more than two hours to win.

Former World No.1 Pliskova was on fire in the opening set dominating the rallies.

The Czech took the first set in less than 30 minutes, but had to dig deep for the win after Vekic's fightback.

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But Pliskova slowly turned the screw and broke for 3-2 with a fizzing backhand which her opponent swished well wide. The same can not be said of Pliskova, who is excellent at the line.

Prior to the final, Pliskova had spent 419 minutes on court, more than any other player and nearly twice as long as Osaka, but the Japanese player soon wilted and was unable to match the brilliance that secured her a first Grand Slam title.

Sensing blood, Pliskova broke for 5-4 after a poor Osaka drop-shot gifted her an easy put-away. "I feel like I'm improving in every match, but the opponents are always tougher".

Tomljanovic in the semi-finals of the singles on Saturday ousted Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei, who nonetheless made a final, pairing up with sister Hsieh Shu-ying against South Korean duo Choi Ji-hee and Han Na-lae in the doubles.

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"I think Donna was playing well and she's beaten a lot of tough players this tournament".

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