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22 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 21 September, 2019 09:18:20 PM

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Osaka advances to Pan Pacific final

Kenin wins third WTA tennis title
AFP, Tokyo
Osaka advances to Pan Pacific final
Japan’s Naomi Osaka serves against Belgium’s Elise Mertens during their women's singles semi-final match at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Osaka on Saturday. AFP Photo

Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka beat Elise Mertens of Belgium on Saturday to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open, thrilling her Japanese fans in the city of her birth.

Top seed Osaka dispatched No. 9 seed Mertens 6-4, 6-1 in Osaka, western Japan, to reach her first final since winning the Australian Open.

The pair both held their serves for the first set until Osaka broke Mertens in the 10th game.

Osaka, 21, rounded into form in the second, and after the pair traded early breaks, won the last four games of the match to sprint to victory in just over an hour.

“It's been kind of rough like the past couple of months so I'm really glad that I made it to the final,” she said.

She tried to stay calm because the 23-year-old Belgian player is "an amazing player and it's so hard to hit her balls," she said.

Earlier in the day, Osaka saw off Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, even as she was tricked at times by the Kazakh player's slices and drop shots.

“For me, I learned a lot from when I played her at Wimbledon, and I know that a hard court is where I feel most comfortable,” Osaka told press after beeting Putintseva.

Last week, Osaka announced she was splitting with her coach, her second break-up this year as she battles to regain form after slipping from the top of the world rankings to number four.

Osaka had already caught the tennis world by surprise when she announced she was parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin, who had overseen her stunning rise to win two Grand Slams -- the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open title in January.

Her challenger in the final will be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 28, who ousted former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 6-3.

Another report from Guangzhou adds:  Moscow-born American Sofia Kenin won her third title of a breakthrough year with a hard-fought victory over Sam Stosur in the final of the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

The 20-year-old prevailed 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2 in southern China over the Australian former Grand Slam winner, now aged 35.

Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, was two games from victory in the second set, before her younger opponent roared back with seven games in a row to turn the match in her favour.

Kenin, seeded third and into the top 20 in the world, is fast making a name for herself in women's tennis.

She defeated then-number one Naomi Osaka to reach the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters last month.

Kenin won her maiden WTA title at Hobart, Australia in January and also triumphed in Mallorca in June.

Stosur was chasing her first singles title in more than two years.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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