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AFP
September 23, 2019

Osaka ends title drought at home Pan Pacific Open

Sports

AFP
September 23, 2019

TOKYO: Japan’s Naomi Osaka ended an eight-month title drought by winning the Pan Pacific Open in her home city on Sunday, her first trophy since her second consecutive Grand Slam triumph at the Australian Open in January.

The former world number one overwhelmed Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour to make it third time lucky in finals at the tournament after finishing runner-up in 2016 and 2018.

She became the first Japanese player to win the Pan Pacific title since Kimiko Date in 1995. “I have played finals here. This is my third time. 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.

Pavlyuchenkova had no answer to Osaka’s powerful and precise serving as the Japanese won a perfect 100 percent of points when her first serve was successful and battered down four aces.

Osaka raced into a 3-0 lead early on and was rarely troubled thereafter as the Russian world number 41 was outclassed, unable to force a break point while the home crowd favourite broke Pavlyuchenkova twice in the first set and once in the second set with an array of powerful groundstrokes from both wings.

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