Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Osaka withdraws from Wuhan Open citing viral illness

Osaka withdraws from Wuhan Open citing viral illness

She then reached the final with a battling 6-2 4-6 6-3 win over Donna Vekic.

In a potentially gripping final, recent US Open champion Naomi Osaka will look to claim her second title in as many tournaments when she takes on fourth seed Karolina Pliskova.

"I have played Pliskova twice already and so I know she is a great player", said Osaka, who won their last meeting at Indian Wells.

In WTA tournaments elsewhere, Kiki Bertens defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 7-6 (7/2), 4-6, 6-2 in the final of the Korea Open in Seoul.

Prior to the final, Pliskova had spent 419 minutes on court, more than any other player and nearly twice as long as Osaka, but the Japanese player soon wilted and was unable to match the brilliance that secured her a first Grand Slam title.

"I was just happy it didn't go to a third set", Pliskova said. Meanwhile, Osaka advanced to the third round and had Madison Keys on the ropes before the American rallied for the win.

"I think tomorrow is a completely different day", said Pliskova, who admitted to feeling exhausted during the second set. "She was missing quite a lot today and it was working, so I didn't change anything". The Japanese, who played the first of her four finals here in 2016, could have become the youngest champion here since 2010.

"I have literally never been so exhausted in my entire life", she told reporters. "Naomi was maybe a little bit exhausted, you could see that, but the future is bright for her and congrats to her for an incredible few weeks". The former world No.1, who spent 419 minutes on court en route to the final, celebrated her 11th title in 21 finals.

Not since Victoria Azarenka in 2012 has a player won their first tournament after a maiden Grand Slam triumph, but Osaka has been playing some excellent tennis and will surely receive the vocal backing of her home crowd. "So if there is anything I can take from this it is that I am proud of myself".

A runner up at this event two years ago, Osaka has not dropped a set so far this week and has had her service broken just once.

Pliskova is set to climb to the seventh position in the WTA rankings and strengthens her chances of competing in a third consecutive WTA Finals Singapore.

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