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Osaka continues run towards homecoming Tokyo title

26 September 2018

Pliskova's win ends an incredible run by Osaka that saw her take the U.S. Open and roar through the Pan Pacific draw unscathed as the buzz over her grand slam win reverberated across the country.

She thumped an ace down the middle on the first point and held her first two service games to love.

When asked to explain her lacklustre performance, Osaka replied: "If I know I would have fixed it.

I haven't really had much time to rest, so I feel exhausted right now", said Osaka in Tokyo, confessing that she needed a break having won 10 matches in a row including her triumph at the US Open title before her streak came to a shuddering halt.

CORRECTS FIRST NAME OF OSAKA - Karolina Pliskova, of Czech Republic kisses her champion trophy during the award ceremony of the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018.

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Third seed Osaka's defeat came a fortnight after she won the US Open final, which was overshadowed by beaten opponent Serena Williams' outburst at an umpire.

"The first one this year was before the wedding", she said. The Japanese, who played the first of her four finals here in 2016, could have become the youngest champion here since 2010.

"I have literally never been so exhausted in my entire life", she told reporters.

"My serve got me out of a lot of trouble today", said Osaka. You don't get to play a final every week so I want to enjoy it.

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

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In the 5th game of the 1st set on Sunday, Osaka made a series of errors with her backhand, losing the set 4-6.

For Pliskova, it was a first tournament victory since Stuttgart in April - and the first since wedding long-time partner Michal Hrdlicka in the summer.

"That was tough and I was lucky to win", admitted Pliskova, who is chasing an 11th career title.

"She has basically every shot and she has a really good serve, so I know it will be a very hard match". "I'm just happy that I also have a title as a married woman". That's normal in semi-finals - there are no easy opponents. "She was missing quite a lot today so it was working, so I didn't change anything". "For a while it was looking like it maybe could be under two hours, but not really".

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Osaka continues run towards homecoming Tokyo title