Osaka in first title win since Aust Open

Hard courts na the koko

World number four Osaka had previously finished as runner up in the tournament in 2016 and 2018, when the WTA event was held in Tokyo.

Osaka's triumph is her first on Japanese soil, while she became the first home player to win the Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date in 1995.

While Osaka's presence in the final is no huge surprise, even if she has not made a decider since winning the Australian Open in January, Pavlyuchenkova has exceeded all expectations this week.

"I have played finals here. So I am really glad that I was able to win, and for it to be in the city where I was born makes it really special", Osaka said.

In the first point of that 5-2 game, Osaka ended a rally with a statement, firing a pristine lob over a net-charging Pavlyuchenkova that landed square on the baseline.

Enjoying strong support from a parochial crowd, the former No. 1-ranked Osaka dominated the match with her powerful groundstrokes and broke Pavlyuchenkova's serve twice to take the opening set in 31 minutes.

Osaka's victory march was momentarily interrupted when her apparent match-winning ace was overruled after a Pavlyuchenkova challenge.

Osaka, 21, who had finished runner-up on two previous occasions at the tournament, beat the Russian 6-2 6-3.

The reigning Australian Open champion go now play Russia Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for the final, after the 28-year-old kpai Germany Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-3 for the other semi-final.



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