Pliskova floors Osaka to win Tokyo title

Naomi Osaka of Japan returns a ball to Camila Giorgi of Italy

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 2 hours and 5 minutes.

It was the Japanese player who appeared the more tired, however, and Osaka, who had not dropped a set during the tournament, hit a series of unforced errors and showed none of the poise and power that secured her a first Grand Slam title.

In the second set, both players rode their serves early, with Osaka winning love games in the third and fifth games before Pliskova returned the favor in the sixth to tie the scores 3-3.

The fourth seeded, in just 63 minutes clinched clinical 6-4, 6-4 victory over the newly-crowned US Open champion. "So I just wanted to be patient and wait for my chances", Pliskova added after capturing her 11th career WTA title without offering up a single break point.

"I was just trying to serve well, to mix the speed a little bit (and) play lots to her backhand".

Pliskova's 11th WTA title took her past Kiki Bertens into the eighth and final qualifying place for the Porsche Race to Singapore. Kiki Bertens, now in eighth place, competes in the final of the Korea Open later yesterday.


The 20-year-old, who became Japan's first Grand Slam singles champion in NY two weeks ago, hit a further eight aces to overwhelm world number 37 Giorgi. 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".

With her second title at the tournament, Wozniacki became the fifth player in the 2000s to win the event a couple of times.

Fittingly, Pliskova wrapped up the match in the same way Osaka had started it - with an ace - to take victory.

"It was another long one today", Pliskova said after the match. "It's the last match also, so I just want to put in everything, what I have left in body".

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.

"I've literally never felt more exhausted in my entire life", she told reporters, confessing that she needed some time off.

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