Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 October 2019

Naomi Osaka extends hot streak after beating Ashleigh Barty in China Open final

Australian Open champion followed up her Japan Open triumph by winning the title in Beijing

Naomi Osaka poses with the China Open trophy after beating Ashleigh Barty in the final. AFP
Naomi Osaka poses with the China Open trophy after beating Ashleigh Barty in the final. AFP

Naomi Osaka extended her red-hot run of form after recovering from a set down to beat world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in the China Open final on Sunday.

Osaka, who won her second title of the season last week at the Pan Pacific Open in Japan, claimed her 10th successive win with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 over the Australian top seed.

The Japanese player's return to form is in stark contrast to much of her earlier season displays when, seemingly shackled by the pressures of the top ranking, she slumped to a series of early defeats following her victory at the Australian Open.

"Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash - 'this is a final, I'm really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting,'" Osaka said on-court during the trophy presentation.

"I feel like I wasn't that calm here (at the tournament). I threw my racket, like, once every match. I really wanted to win here, I felt like I had something to prove."

In a battle between two 2019 grand slam champions, it was French Open winner Barty who took the early initiative, breaking Osaka in the sixth game before holding firm to claim the opening set.

The second set proved a complete reversal, with Osaka breaking Barty in the sixth game and the Japanese world No 4 remained rock solid on serve – she didn't face any break points – to level the match and force the decider.

From there Osaka took complete control, breaking in the first game of the third set, before delivering the fatal blow in the seventh game and serving out the final.

Updated: October 6, 2019 05:37 PM

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