Top seed Naomi Osaka held off Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 to finally win the Toray Pan Pacific Open after two previous runner-up finishes at the event in Osaka, Japan.
Tennis – Pan Pacific Open – Women’s Singles – Victory Ceremony – Utsubo Tennis Center, Osaka, Japan – September 22, 2019 – Japan’s Naomi Osaka with her trophy. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Born in Osaka, she finished second in the tournament in 2016 and 2018, when the event was held in Tokyo.
It’s the first title for Osaka since winning the Australian Open in January.
Osaka lost to Pavlyuchenkova in their only previous meeting, in 2017, but set the tone early on Sunday with a dominating serve and never let up. Osaka finished with a 100 percent winning percentage on first serves put into play and fired four aces in the one-hour, nine-minute victory.
Third-seeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic dominated fourth-seeded Magda Linette of Poland 6-1, 6-1 to earn her first career title.
After waiting out a six-hour rain delay, Muchova needed just 68 minutes to dispatch Linette. Muchova logged an incredible 86 percent winning percentage on her first serve and never faced a break point in the match.
Muchova also avenged a loss to Linette in their only previous meeting.
American Sloane Stephens, seeded 10th, topped country favorite Zhang Shuai 7-5, 6-4 in the opening round in Wuhan, China.
It ended a three-match skid by Stephens and also avenged losses to Shuai in their past two meetings.
Ninth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus was the only other seeded player in action. She cruised past countrymate Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-1, 6-2.
In an all-American match, Danielle Rose Collins held off Venus Williams 7-5, 7-6 (5).
—Field Level Media