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Pliskova pummels tearful Osaka to win Tokyo crown

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic kisses her trophy during the award ceremony of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, on Sunday. Pliskova defeated Naomi Osaka of Japan in the final. – AP/PTI
 TOKYO, Sept 23: Former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova stunned Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka in straight sets to capture the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.

The fourth seed took just 63 minutes to complete a clinical 6-4, 6-4 victory over the newly crowned US Open champion in Tokyo, bringing Osaka’s 10-match winning streak to a shuddering halt.

“I’m just happy it didn’t go to three sets,” said the Czech, who had been taken the distance in her previous three matches.

“My serve is my biggest weapon and it was key today,” added Pliskova after scooping an 11th career title.

“Naomi was maybe a little bit tired, you could see that. But the future is bright for her and congrats to her for an incredible few weeks.”

The players had split their previous two meetings, but Osaka started the final as favourite after her historic New York triumph.

And the third seed began in menacing fashion, thumping an ace down the middle on the first point and holding her first two service games to love.

But Pliskova slowly turned the screws and broke for 3-2 with a fizzing backhand which her opponent swished well wide.

The world number eight was soon a set to the good after unleashing another brutal drive. Osaka was caught flat-footed and dumped it into the net. – AFP

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