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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.”

Djokovic beats Delbonis in third round at Miami Open

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Novak Djokovic squandered a second-set lead but regrouped to beat Federico Delbonis 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 Sunday in the third round of the Miami Open.

Djokovic appeared on his way to an easy victory when he led 3-1 in the second set, but he dropped serve twice in a row. He won a succession of long rallies in the final set and swept the last five games.

The top-ranked Djokovic is trying for his seventh title in the tournament, which moved this year to the Miami Dolphins’ stadium complex.

Defending champion John Isner was broken in the first game but he held the rest of the way and hit 16 aces to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 7-6 (6).

Isner, now 33, won the biggest title of his career in the tournament a year ago. Seeded No. 7, he’ll next face No. 19 Kyle Edmund, who beat No. 12 Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-4.

In women’s play, Venus Williams reached the fourth round of the tournament for the 16th time with a 6-3, 6-1 win over No. 14 Daria Kasatkina, who never held serve.

Williams won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001. She’s unseeded at Miami for the first time since 2012, but improved to 11-3 this year.

Williams next faces No. 2 Simona Halep, who outlasted Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (1), 6-2.

“I was running like crazy for three hours,” Halep said. “If I keep doing this, I think I have a chance to be back No. 1.”

A loss Saturday by top-ranked Naomi Osaka opened the door for Halep to reclaim the top ranking if she reaches the final.

No. 25 Danielle Collins lost to Wang Yafan 7-5, 6-1.

John Isner advances to fourth round at Miami Open

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — John Isner was broken in the first game but held thereafter and hit 16 aces to beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-5, 7-6 (6) Sunday in the third round of the Miami Open.

Isner, now 33, won the biggest title of his career in the tournament a year ago. He is seeded seventh this year.

In women’s play, No. 25 Danielle Collins lost to Wang Yafan 7-5, 6-1.

Defending women’s champion Sloane Stephens was scheduled to play later Sunday, as was No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic on the men’s side.