TOKYO (AP) — Caroline Wozniacki overcame injury to beat Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 and win the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday.
Wozniacki, who also won here in 2010, took control in the second set when she broke in the second game.
The former No. 1 led 5-0 before Osaka fought back to give home fans some hope, but Wozniacki sealed victory in the ninth game when Osaka’s return went wide.
“I just fought for every point and tried to stay aggressive and make her move,” Wozniacki said. “She fought back in the second set so I was just happy to close it out.”
Osaka – playing in her first WTA final – had led 3-1 in the first set but couldn’t sustain the momentum.
Wozniacki, who has faced ankle and wrist injuries this season, took a medical timeout midway through the first set because of a sore groin and came back with a bandaged left leg. She broke Osaka after returning and won three of the last four games of the set.
“I’m enjoying it at the moment,” said U.S. Open semifinalist Wozniacki. “Injuries happen and you never know when you can be taken out of the game, so I’m just enjoying every minute.”
The veteran’s consistency won the day, with just 16 unforced errors to Osaka’s 32. Ruthless on the crucial points, Wozniacki converted five of six break point opportunities and won an impressive 11 of 12 forays to the net.
“I’ve won a tournament every year since 2008 so I’m happy to keep that streak going,” Wozniacki said. “I’m heading to China today where I’m just going to try to continue playing well.”
MOSCOW (AP) Maria Sharapova was beaten by Magdalena Rybarikova 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday, ending her bid for a second title in two weeks.
Sharapova, who won the Tianjin Open two days ago, brought her usual power but lacked accuracy with some wild swings on key points.
“I felt fine physically, to be honest, especially after having played five matches in five days (in Tianjin). That was a big surprise,” Sharapova said. “Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been … Maybe if this tournament hadn’t been in Moscow, I wouldn’t have played it.”
Sharapova was under pressure on serve from the start and saved six break points before finally being broken to 6-5. She responded by breaking Rybarikova, but Sharapova’s double fault at 4-3 in the tiebreaker handed the Slovakian the momentum to close out the set.
Rybarikova, seeded eighth, sealed the match after saving two break points to lead 5-4, then breaking Sharapova in the next game. Rybarikova will play Alize Cornet in the second round.
Six months after she returned from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova is still trying to move back up the rankings from her current position of 57th. Her first tour appearance in Moscow in a decade drew a large and enthusiastic crowd despite taking place on a Tuesday afternoon.
Also Tuesday, seventh-seeded Julia Goerges beat Russian qualifier Polina Monova 6-0, 6-3 to set up a second-round meeting with Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.
In the men’s Kremlin Cup tournament, sixth-seeded Damir Dzumhur defeated Thomas Fabbiano 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.
TIANJIN, China (AP) Maria Sharapova won her first WTA title since returning from a doping ban after defeating Aryna Sabalenka to win the Tianjin Open on Sunday.
The Russian, a tournament wild card, overcame Belarusian teenager Sabalenka 7-5, 7-6 (8) despite trailing heavily in both sets.
Sharapova last won a title at the Italian Open in May 2015.
The former top-ranked player and owner of five major titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open, tested positive for the newly banned drug meldonium at the Australian Open in January 2016. That led to a 15-month doping ban, which expired in April.
“Such a special, special tournament, and victory for me, one that I’ll remember forever,” Sharapova said. “Sometimes you never know when it will all come together but it happened to me this week in Tianjin.”
Sharapova displayed resilience as she came from behind in both sets to overcome her 19-year-old opponent.
Sabalenka led 4-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the second before relenting to Sharapova’s greater big-match experience. It was Sharapova’s 36th WTA singles title.
The 30-year-old Sharapova played in her first Grand Slam tournament following the ban at the U.S. Open in August, where she reached the fourth round. Sunday’s result will lift Sharapova up to No. 57 in the world rankings.