Naomi Osaka Beats Elise Mertens to Enter Pan Pacific Open Final in Home City
Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow News18.com on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time. Anastasia PavlyuchenkovaAngelique KerberElise MertensMadison Keys First Published: September 21, 2019, 4:01 PM IST Tokyo: Japanese tennis sensation Naomi Osaka beat Elise Mertens of Belgium on Saturday to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open, thrilling her Japanese fans in the city of her birth.Top seed Osaka dispatched No. 9 seed Mertens 6-4, 6-1 in Osaka, western Japan, to reach her first final since winning the Australian Open. The pair both held their serves for the first set until Osaka broke Mertens in the 10th game.Osaka, 21, rounded into form in the second, and after the pair traded early breaks, won the last four games of the match to sprint to victory in just over an hour.”It’s been kind of rough like the past couple of months so I’m really glad that I made it to the final,” she said.She tried to stay calm because the 23-year-old Belgian player is “an amazing player and it’s so hard to hit her balls,” she said.Two wins in a day! 👏@Naomi_Osaka_ storms past Mertens, 6-4, 6-1. @TorayPPO pic.twitter.com/315wVoY1uo— WTA (@WTA) September 21, 2019 Earlier in the day, Osaka saw off Yulia Putintseva in straight sets, even as she was tricked at times by the Kazakh player’s slices and drop shots.”For me, I learned a lot from when I played her at Wimbledon, and I know that a hard court is where I feel most comfortable,” Osaka told press after beating Putintseva.Last week, Osaka announced she was splitting with her coach, her second break-up this year as she battles to regain form after slipping from the top of the world rankings to number four.Osaka had already caught the tennis world by surprise when she announced she was parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin, who had overseen her stunning rise to win two Grand Slams — the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open title in January.Her challenger in the final will be Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 28, who ousted former world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 6-3.