Osaka Returns to Winning Ways with Pan Pacific Open Crown


Naomi Osaka lifted her first trophy since winning the Australian Open in January, blasting past Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3 in the Pan Pacific Open final on Sunday.

Her victory marked a return to the ruthless form that helped world number four Osaka claim last year’s U.S. Open crown before her Melbourne success, with the 21-year-old not dropping a set all week in Osaka, Japan.

“I just wanted to win this really bad,” Osaka, who has endured several lows this season and sacked two coaches in the space of seven months, told a news conference.

She became the first Japanese player to win the title since Kimiko Date in 1995.

“I think what I learned from this tournament is just to focus every point, and just to have really positive energy,” Osaka added.

Osaka relied on her powerful serve and groundstrokes to break world number 41 Pavlyuchenkova early in the contest and cruise through the opening set.

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