Naomi Osaka beats world No 1 Barty to win China Open
Japanese star recovers from a set down to scoop her third title in 2019
Beijing — Naomi Osaka won a second tournament on the spin as she fought back from a set down to defeat world No 1 Ashleigh Barty in the China Open final on Sunday.
The Japanese two-time grand slam champion emerged victorious after 110 minutes in chilly Beijing, scoring 3-6 6-3 6-2.
On Saturday, after defeating holder Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals, the 21-year-old called her own serve “confusing”. And so it was in the sixth game when Osaka conjured up a double fault, then an ace, then another double fault against Australia’s Barty.
The world No 4, victorious in her home Pan Pacific Open in September, was broken when she planted a forehand into the net. The former No 1 appeared mildly uncomfortable with her shoulder, touching it and rotating it between points.
Barty, 23, who had strapping down her left calf, wrapped up the first set in 34 minutes and frustration was creeping in for the Australian Open champion Osaka. But much of the crowd in Beijing was pro-Osaka and they were cheering when she broke Barty to move 4-2 up on the way to winning the second set.
“Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash. This is a final, I’m really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting.”
Osaka was in control now and broke Barty — who five years ago took a rest from tennis and played cricket — in the first game of the deciding set on the way to victory.
This was a third title of 2019 for Osaka and fifth in her career.