Osaka’s winning streak comes to an end in loss to Pliskova

Mae Harvey
September 26, 2018

Naomi Osaka was unable to clinch her first title in front of Japanese fans on Sunday, losing in straight sets to Karolina Pliskova in the Toray Pan Pacific Open final.

It ended Osaka's 10-match winning streak and handed Pliskova - now ranked eighth, one place below Osaka - the 11th major tour title of her career.

Osaka had earlier said she "felt really exhausted today" during her loss to Pliskova.

Pliskova's 11th WTA title took her past Kiki Bertens into the eighth and final qualifying place for the Porsche Race to Singapore.

Pliskova then served out the match with a love game, sealing the victory with an ace.

A tearful Osaka said at the prize presentation in Tokyo that she needed a break after her exploits in becoming the first Japanese to win a grand slam title at the US Open in NY earlier this month started to take its toll. "She was missing quite a lot today so it was working, so I didn't change anything". "I knew I had to play aggressive and make her move around the court, to play with all the energy I had in me and to be positive all the time - that was the goal".

Reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan withdrew from the Wuhan Open on Sunday due to a viral illness. 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". But I served really well and that got me out of a lot of trouble today.

Osaka, however, indicated she might pull out of the tournament in order to recover from her grueling recent schedule.

"I've never been in a final in Japan and the last one is always the toughest".

"Because if you set a really high goal, than normally, for me at least, I tend to overwhelm myself".

"It was important for me to play just two sets and not go to a third one". Osaka, bidding to become the first home champion here since Date in 1995, looked anxious throughout the contest and allowed Pliskova to win easily in just over an hour.

Two years ago, Osaka lost in the final to Caroline Wozniacki, this year's top-seeded player who was eliminated by Giorgi on Thursday.

In Sunday's final, Klizan will face the victor of the semi-final between top-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem and fifth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

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