Wozniacki eyes maiden Slam after retaining Tokyo title

AFP
The Danish former world No. 1 needed only 75 minutes to complete the rout under the Tokyo sunshine, capturing her first title of the year after losing in six finals.
AFP
AFP

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark holds the championship trophy after beating Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-0, 7-5 in the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on September 24, 2017.

Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki romped to a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Sunday to win her third Pan Pacific Open title.

The Danish former world No. 1 needed only 75 minutes to complete the rout under the Tokyo sunshine, capturing her first title of the year after losing in six finals.

Third seed Wozniacki stormed through the first set in just 22 minutes, blazing winners past a stunned Pavlyuchenkova, who was firing blanks up to that point.

The Russian saved a match point in the 10th game of the second set before Wozniacki converted on her third opportunity, fizzing a backhand pass down the line to claim the 26th WTA singles title of her career.

"It was my seventh final this year and obviously after a while it gets harder and harder," said Wozniacki after winning her first tournament since taking the title in China's Hong Kong in October last year.

"Obviously I've won here in the past and it has great memories for me, so I'm happy I was able to stay focused and aggressive," she added.

"Everything was going my way in the first set. The second set was tricky but I managed to stay positive and it feels great to win the title again. It was awesome."

Wozniacki, who finished as year-end world No. 1 in 2010 and 2011 but has since slipped back to sixth in the rankings, turned her focus to winning a first grand slam title next season.

"Hopefully if I stay healthy I can put myself in position," said the two-time US Open finalist.

"When you go on a roll and play great tennis, you're going to give yourself opportunities."

Wozniacki, also Tokyo winner in 2010 and runner-up in 2014, joined former greats Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini with three Pan Pacific Open crowns.

Martina Hingis holds the record with five.

Wozniacki, who destroyed world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 in the  semifinals, never gave Pavlyuchenkova a chance in their first meeting since 2012.

Pavlyuchenkova managed to get on the scoreboard in the second set and cracked a sheepish grin after winning her first game.

But she never looked like adding to the titles she won in Monterrey and Rabat.

"The first three games were the key," said Pavlyuchenkova, who beat former world No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the semifinals.

"I just felt a bit unlucky, it was strange. That's why I was a little down on myself," added the Russian.

Wozniacki's 26th career title also ensured that the Dane maintained her streak of winning at least one WTA tournament every year since 2008.

AFP

Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia hits a return to Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil en route to her 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 victory in the final of the Korea Open in Seoul on September 24, 2017.

In Seoul, South Korea, top seed Jelena Ostapenko clinched victory at the Korea Open on Sunday, defeating Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia in a closely contested three-set final.

The 20-year-old French Open champion from Latvia rallied from a set down to beat the debutante finalist 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, in a match that lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes.

"I'm really happy to win my second title here and in my career," Ostapenko said after the match. "I enjoyed playing here and to also see so many Latvian flags is amazing."

Sunday's win was Ostapenko's first hardcourt title since her upset victory over third-seed Simona Halep at the French Open in June.

Despite her defeat, Haddad Maia said competing in her first Women's Tennis Association finals had been a good experience.

"This match today was really tight. Both of us were playing very well," she said.

In Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Katerina Siniakova beat a top-20 player for the sixth time this year when she ousted Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Wuhan Open on Sunday.

The Czech, who has two singles titles already this year, deepened the hole occupied by Mladenovic, who lost an eighth consecutive match, all to players ranked outside the WTA top 25.

Ekaterina Makarova of Russia won nine games in a row from 1-4 down en route to beating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova 6-4, 6-2.

Also, Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine defeated Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 6-3, 7-6 (10) to line up world No. 1 Muguruza in the next round.

Muguruza, second-seeded Halep and the other top six seeds received byes into the second round.

Sloane Stephens will take on Wang Qiang of China in the first round in her first competitive match since winning the US Open. Stephens, seeded 14th in Wuhan, arrived on Friday and is expected to play her opening match on Monday. Madison Keys, who lost to Stephens in the all-American final in New York, will face qualifier Varvara Lepchenko in her opener.

Other winners on Sunday included Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.


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