Fourth seed Naomi Osaka came back from a set down to defeat world No.1 Ashleigh Barty in the China Open final and for the first time in her career win back-to-back titles, after her last month’s triumph at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan.
After the first set, it seemed like the match was absolutely in Barty’s hands, even though her 6-3 lead didn’t come easily — the Australian saved two break points (one at 2-2 and one at 4-2) and the sole break she earned happened in a five-deuce sixth game in which she was greatly helped by Osaka’s three double faults.
Even though Osaka seemed somehow unmotivated at the end of the first set, the Japanese opened the second set with a confident hold. Barty saved one break point with a brave dropshot to stay on serve at 2-2, but Osaka soon got another opportunity to break and the 4-2 lead she established stayed with her throughout the set, as Barty’s first-serve percentage dropped to 48% (although Osaka’s wasn’t that much better, only 54%).
Osaka calmly dominated the third set with a double break lead and won the Premier Mandatory tournament on her second match point when Barty sent a forehand wide, 3-6 6-3 6-2.
En route to the Beijing title and $1,523,265 in prize money, the reigning Australian Open champion Osaka defeated the reigning US Open (Bianca Andreescu) and French Open (Ashleigh Barty) champions. The 21-year-old’s winning streak since the US Open is now 10-0.
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