Caroline Wozniacki holds the winner’s plate after clinching the Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo.
Tokyo: Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki overpowered Japan’s Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 to capture the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday, her first tournament victory since February 2015.
The Dane, who has battled back from a wretched run of injuries this year, weathered an early storm from her teenage opponent before running out a comfortable winner, claiming a second Tokyo title and the 24th of her career.
Wozniacki, the Pan Pacific champion six years ago, survived another health scare after dropping serve to go down 4-3 in the first set.
After feeling a twinge in her left thigh, she left the court to undergo treatment and returned with her leg heavily bandaged.
But it appeared to have little adverse effect as Wozniacki took complete control, ripping a backhand down the line to take the set.
Wozniacki, who reached the US Open semi-finals earlier this month to signal her return to form, roared into a 5-0 lead in the second as Osaka’s game unravelled in the Tokyo sunshine.
Playing with the roof open after a week of typhoon rains, Osaka paid for her youthful exuberance, her strategy of attempting to hit the fur off the ball on every shot backfiring badly against a vastly more experienced opponent.
The 18-year-old, who called a medical timeout of her own for a sore right shoulder after losing the first set, produced spirited late resistance to avoid the dreaded ‘bagel’ but it was too little too late.
Wozniacki, who had seen her world ranking plunge to 74th after suffering wrist and ankle injuries, completed victory with a crisp backhand which forced Osaka into yet another wild shot, giving the 26-year-old her first title since Kuala Lumpur last year.
The Dane also maintained her record of having won a tournament every year since 2008 and is set to climb to 22 or 23 in the rankings.
Osaka, born of a Japanese mother and Haitian father, broke into the top 50 after her fairytale run.