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U.S. Open champion Osaka reaches Pan Pacific Open final

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TOKYO — Naomi Osaka relied on a dominant serve to reach the final of the Pan Pacific Open on Saturday with a comfortable 6-2, 6-3 win over Camila Giorgi.

The U.S. Open champion, who upset Serena Williams in the final in New York, overpowered her unseeded opponent and will face fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in Sunday’s final.

Third-seeded Osaka fired nine aces and dropped just eight points in eight service games.

“My serve got me out of a lot of trouble today,” said Osaka. “She was playing really well and my serve helped me. I was a bit nervous because I really wanted to reach the final.”

Two years ago, Osaka lost in the final to Caroline Wozniacki, this year’s top-seeded player who was eliminated by Giorgi on Thursday.

Having not dropped a set over the course of her week, Osaka will next face a player who has needed three dramatic sets in each of her matches to reach her second final of the season.

Pliskova had to dig deep again to beat Donna Vekic 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in Saturday’s other semifinal.

After saving two match points against American qualifier Alison Riske in the last round, and coming back from a set down against Daria Gavrilova earlier in the tournament, Pliskova had to go the distance once again, needing more than two hours to win.

“It was another long one today!” Pliskova said after the match. “I feel like I’m improving in every match, but the opponents are always more tough. That’s normal in semifinals … no easy opponents.”

Osaka and Pliskova will face off Sunday for the third time overall and second this year with a Premier-level title on the line.

Osaka earned a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Czech in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in March, en route to winning her first career title.

“I know that she’s a great player,” Osaka said of Pliskova. “She has basically every shot and a really good serve, so I know it’s going to be a really difficult match.”

Chardy beats Paire in all-French battle in Hamburg

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) Jeremy Chardy needed five match points to beat fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire and reach the second round of the Hamburg European Open on Monday.

Chardy finally converted match point to win 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-3 against Paire, who at 28th in the world is ranked 49 places higher. The fifth-seeded Paire struggled on serve in the deciding set, racking up six double faults and only one ace.

Chardy next plays either fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet or Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal.

Eighth-seeded Christian Garin had reached the final in three of his last seven clay-court tournaments but was beaten 6-4, 7-6 (5) by Andrey Rublev.

Marton Fucsovics defeated German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0, and Martin Klizan dismissed wild card Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 6-2.

More AP tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

3-time Grand Slam doubles winner Peter McNamara dies at 64

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Peter McNamara, an Australian tennis player who won three Grand Slam doubles titles and reached a highest singles ranking of No. 7, has died. He was 64.

His death at his home in Germany from prostate cancer was confirmed by David Law, a family friend and tennis commentator, on behalf of McNamara’s wife Petra.

McNamara formed a successful partnership with compatriot Paul McNamee to win the Wimbledon doubles title in 1980 and 1982 and the Australian Open title in 1979.

The right-hander also won five singles titles, reaching the Australian Open singles semifinals in 1980, the Wimbledon quarterfinals in 1981 and the last eight at the 1982 French Open.

After his retirement in 1987 McNamara became a successful coach, working with Mark Philippoussis, Grigor Dimitrov and more recently rising women’s star Wang Qiang of China.