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Pliskova beats Osaka on home soil to win Pan Pacific Open

September 23, 2018
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Naomi Osaka, right, of Japan and Karolina Pliskova, left, of Czech Republic shake hands after Pliskova won their final match of the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova beat Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Pan Pacific Open and deny the U.S. Open champion a win in her home country.

Osaka, who upset Serena Williams in the final in New York, hadn’t dropped a set previous to Sunday’s final and was frustrated from the outset by the big-serving Czech player.

Pliskova broke Osaka for a second time to go up 5-4 in the second set and then hammered her sixth ace to secure her 11th career title.

Pliskova needed three dramatic sets in each of her matches to reach her second final of the season.

“I was just happy it didn’t go to a third set,” Pliskova said. “Naomi was playing so good all tournament but I think she was a little bit tired today.”

The frustration was evident when Osaka double faulted in the ninth game of the second set to set up Pliskova’s second break. The 20-year-old tossed her racket to the ground before collecting her composure, but it was too late.

It was the second time Osaka came up short in the tournament. Two years ago, Osaka lost in the final to Caroline Wozniacki, this year’s top-seeded player who was eliminated by Camila Giorgi in the second round.

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