Published: Sun, September 23, 2018
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Karolina Pliskova upsets Naomi Osaka to win the title — WTA Tokyo

Karolina Pliskova upsets Naomi Osaka to win the title — WTA Tokyo

Naomi Osaka's dominant run came to end on Sunday in a 6-4 6-4 loss to fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

Osaka, who upset Serena Williams in the final in NY, hadn't dropped a set previous to Sunday's final and was frustrated from the outset by the big-serving Czech player.

Karolina Pliskova (R) of Czech Republic, flanked by second-placed Naomi Osaka of Japan, poses with her victory trophy.

She then added another 26 winners, including seven aces, during straight-set win over Czech No.3 Strycova in the quarter-finals and struck nine aces, winning 34 of 42 points on serve to see off unseeded Giorgi in the semifinals to become the first maiden Slam champion to make the final of her next event since Azarenka won Australian Open and then Doha in 2012.

"I didn't want to try to overpower her because I think she has more power than me", she said. "I haven't really had much time to rest, so I feel exhausted right now". But at least you know you can put everything into it.

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.

The former world number one started as if intent on finishing the contest as quickly as possible, storming to a 4-0 lead before wrapping up the first set in less than half an hour.

So, the last player to win the Tokyo title without conceding a set remains Agnieszka Radwanska in 2015.

A weary-looking Pliskova dug deep in the decider and the quality of her superior hitting eventually told as she broke Vekic's resolve with a strong start to the third set.

It was important for me to play two sets and not go three sets - also for recovery for the next tournament - and I needed a match like this.

"It's the final, so you just forget about all those minutes that you spent on the court". Pliskova is ninth in the race, with the top eight players qualifying for Singapore, behind Seoul finalist Kiki Bertens.

Both players are in the top 10 in terms of number of aces served on the tour this year.

"The chances of me playing in the next tournament are very low".

Osaka's defeat was her second in the tournament final, having also been runner-up in 2016, as the 20-year-old seemed to finally succumb to the after-effects of her emotional U.S. Open triumph earlier this month.

When asked to explain her lackluster performance, Osaka replied: "If I know I would have fixed it. It's going to be a lot about serves".

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