Pliskova beats Osaka on home soil to win Pan Pacific Open

Lynette Rowe
September 25, 2018

You don't get to play a final every week so I want to enjoy it.

Naomi Osaka was unable to clinch her first title in front of Japanese fans on Sunday, losing in straight sets to Karolina Pliskova in the Toray Pan Pacific Open final.

She then kept Vekic under pressure throughout, saving two break points on her own serve, before breaking for the second time in the set to win the match 6-3 and a meeting with Osaka.

"I've literally never felt more exhausted in my entire life, so I kind of want to say the chances of me playing in the next tournament are very low", she said. The Japanese, who played the first of her four finals here in 2016, could have become the youngest champion here since 2010.

"I have literally never been so exhausted in my entire life", she told reporters.

"Even when it's not working, I know it can work the next day", said former world No. 1 Pliskova, who praised third-seeded Osaka for her play throughout the tournament. Osaka whacked her racket against her sneakers in anger at her wastefulness and, as the strain began to show, she called for her coach Sascha Bajin before groaning: "I feel so stressed out". As I am feeling very exhausted today, maybe I wasn't doing the little things well.

Osaka has been in the spotlight both on and off the court since arriving back in Japan after her historic win in NY.

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Both players now turn their attention to the next round on the WTA's Asian swing, the Wuhan Open in China. "Stan is one of the best players in the world and I'm really proud of myself after I could beat him finally".

Just after winning the US Open, where she pulled off a major upset by beating Serena Williams 6-2 6-4 under controversial circumstances.

"My serve is my biggest weapon and it was key today", added Pliskova after scooping an 11th career title. "As I am feeling very exhausted today, maybe I wasn't doing the little things well".

Pliskova and Osaka had split their previous two meetings, but the hometown hero started the Tokyo meeting as the favourite after her historic NY triumph.

She thumped an ace down the middle on the first point and held her first two service games to love. The world No. 8 was soon a set up after unleashing another brutal drive catching No. 7 Osaka flat-footed.

Osaka, the runner-up in Tokyo two years ago, climbed to seventh in the rankings after becoming Japan's first grand slam singles champion but she looked lost for ideas against Pliskova.

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