Osaka Outshines Simona Halep To Reach BNP Paribas Open Finals
07:57, Mar 21, 2018
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They soon looked more assured, but the 20th seed gifted Osaka the opportunity to serve for opening set with a poor service game, which her opponent won with a rasping backhand victor. With this historic victory, Osaka became the first person from her country to triumph in Indian Wells and her reward is a new career-high ranking of 22. Daria Kasatkina put out US Open champion Sloane Stephens and world No 2 Caroline Wozniacki, thrashed world No 10 Angelique Kerber, and outlasted seven-time major victor Venus Williams.
Osaka grasped her opportunity, another powerful backhand sealing the opening set in 39 minutes on a sunny day in California.
Using her explosive power, Osaka delivered 23 winners to Kasatkina's 10 and won 79 percent on her first serve. Hitting her spots, forehands, even the backhands.
Juan Martin del Potro rallied from three match points down in the third set Sunday and beat top-ranked Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (2) to win the BNP Paribas Open, handing Federer his first loss of the year.
"If you put in a lot of hard work you can play well", said Osaka, who was playing in only her second final after being the runner-up in Tokyo in 2016.
Known for her shyness, she was definitely more at home on the court than accepting her first trophy.
Mar 18, 2018; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) as she defeated Daria Kasatkina (not pictured) in the women's finals in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Those two teenagers would go on to reach No1 and claim multiple Major titles, and many who had seen the progress of this year's protagonists, Naomi Osaka and Daria Kasatkina, were already seeing their potential to reach the top of their sport sooner rather than later.
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'But I just tried everything.
Kasatkina was two points from defeat, trailing 4-5 and 0-30 in the third set when Williams committed four straight errors as the Russian tied it 5-5. She is the first unseeded victor since Kim Clijsters in 2005 and the second-youngest since Ana Ivanovic in 2008.
"I feel like I have made it my goal to be more focused every match this year, so I think it's paid off", she said.
Consecutive service holds followed, though it was Osaka who faced more troubles, especially with Kasatkina earning another break point in the seventh game.
'I returned the ball well, said Osaka.
Both players are 20-years-old. She also has a better record having gone 167-75 in singles so far compared with Osaka's 149-104.
"OK, never mind, " she quickly blurted.
Her inexperience at making victory speeches showed.
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