Osaka stunned by Pliskova at Pan Pacific

Naomi Osaka

Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic returns a shot against Naomi Osaka of Japan during the final match of the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo Sunday, Sept. 23.

"I was just happy it didn't go to a third set", Pliskova said.

The frustration boiled over when Osaka double faulted in the ninth game of the second set to set up Pliskova's second break. "As I am feeling very exhausted today, maybe I wasn't doing the little things well". "But the future is bright for her and congrats to her for an incredible few weeks".

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

Croatian Vekic shocked world number four and second seed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-4 to continue her unlikely run at this event.

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 the world number seven pounded down a huge ace with her first serve of the match.

The players had split their previous two meetings, but Osaka started the final as favourite after her historic NY triumph.

10 Elise Mertens (Bel) 3,080 * Qualified. The top eight players qualify for Singapore.

She thumped an ace down the middle on the first point and held her first two service games to love.

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The Wuhan Open, which began yesterday and ends on Saturday, boasts a strong field despite Osaka's withdrawal, with the top five women's players, including world No. 1 Simona Halep, all taking part.

The 20-year-old local favorite was barely tested in her first three matches of the tournament but faced a much sterner challenge against Pliskova.

Things barely improved in the second set.

"I know that she's a great player", Osaka said of Pliskova.

Fourth seed Pliskova was pushed hard by Vekic before winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 for a spot in Sunday's final.

For Pliskova, it was a first tournament victory since Stuttgart in April - and the first since marrying long-time partner Michal Hrdlicka in the summer.

Pliskova, who also enjoyed a first-round bye, has found her passage to the title-match rather less straightforward. "I just wanted to be patient and wait for my chances".

A tearful Osaka could barely bring herself to speak at the trophy presentation.

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

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