Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Pliskova: Pan Pacific Open final preview and prediction

26 September, 2018, 19:05 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • Karolina Pliskova

Currently just outside the eight qualifying spots for next month's WTA Finals in Singapore, Pliskova has now spent 420 minutes on court in Tokyo compared to 222 minutes for Osaka. Not since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 has a player won their first tournament after a maiden Grand Slam triumph, but Osaka has been playing some excellent tennis and will surely receive the vocal backing of her home crowd.

Osaka looked in complete control against Giorgi throughout her match breaking the Italian's serve twice in each set to reach her third final of the year in just 71 minutes, having not dropped a set all week.

She said: "I didn't want to try to overpower her".

Earlier in the day, fans at the Tachikawa Tachihi Arena were treated to a marathon contest that saw Karolina Pliskova defeat Alison Riske, the conqueror of two-time Grand Slam victor Garbine Muguruza earlier in the tournament, 6-1 6-7 (5) 7-6 (4) after over two and a half hours of play.

The unseeded 22-year-old broke Garcia five times on route to a comfortable victory, her first over the Frenchwoman.

Former World No.1 Pliskova was on fire in the opening set dominating the rallies.

Pliskova looked exhausted but dug deep in the third set and the quality of her superior hitting eventually told as she broke Vekic's resolve.


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

In the 2nd set, Osaka was unable to return many of Pliskova's serves.

The third set was tight with a break of serve coming early for Pliskova in the third game to lead 2-1.

"First of all, my serve was very good today - I was able to hold all my service games, so that was the key", said Pliskova, who needed just 63 minutes to dispatch Osaka.

Pliskova, who also enjoyed a first-round bye, has found her passage to the title-match rather less straightforward. 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".

Tomljanovic in the semi-finals of the singles on Saturday ousted Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei, who nonetheless made a final, pairing up with sister Hsieh Shu-ying against South Korean duo Choi Ji-hee and Han Na-lae in the doubles.

"It was important for me to play just two sets and not go to a third one. For a while it was looking like it maybe could be under two hours, but not really".

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