Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Red-hot Osaka powers past Giorgi into Tokyo final

Red-hot Osaka powers past Giorgi into Tokyo final

Pliskova was more than happy to take advantage, capitalising both times when presented with a break point and winning the last 11 points to secure her second WTA title of the campaign.

Sensing blood, Pliskova broke for 5-4 after a poor Osaka drop shot gifted her an easy put-away.

The third seed's aggressive play and especially her serve, with nine aces, dropping just eight points in her eight service games, were behind her impressive victory.

At the 2016 US Open, unseeded players Caroline Wozniacki and Naomi Osaka both put on noteworthy performances: Wozniacki, whose year had been hampered by injuries that caused her ranking to plummet, left NY back in the top 30 after a run to the semifinals.

Pliskova came into Sunday's final having won her last four dating to the Brisbane International in January 2017 - and kept that streak alive while putting an end to Osaka's 10-match winning streak. "She was playing really well, and my serve helped me". In clinching the title, Pliskova has taken a huge step towards securing her berth at the season WTA Finals.

Second-seeded Kiki Bertens picked up her third title of 2018, outlasting Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (2), 5-6, 6-2 in the final at Seoul, South Korea.

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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But Pliskova slowly turned the screw and broke for 3-2 with a fizzing backhand which her opponent swished well wide. "I needed a match like this", the 26-year-old world number eight told reporters.

As the strain began to show, a dejected Osaka called for coach Sascha Bajin and groaned: "I feel so stressed out!".

In her first semifinal since Madrid in May, saw off unseeded Vekic to seal her 14th three-set victory: only Kvitova (17), Sabalenka (17) and Halep (16) have won more.

"It was another long one today!" "I have my weapons, she also has some".

"I didn't want to try to overpower her because she just has more power than me", said Pliskova.

"I've literally never felt more exhausted in my entire life", Osaka said.

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.

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