World No. 1 Novak Djokovic yesterday grabbed the Japan Open, dispelling any concerns about his shoulder injury that pulled him out of the US Open.
The Serb crushed Australian qualifier John Millman 6-3, 6-2 to mark his 10th win in a tournament main draw debut in his celebrated career.
Djokovic, who played his first Japanese competition ever, dominated throughout the week, not losing a single set. He intensified his performance as the week progressed, never allowing his opponents, including world No. 15 David Goffin, to pose serious threats.
In the final match, Djokovic grabbed an early break in the first set to enjoy a 3-1 lead by blasting off a series of sizzling serves and precision returns that forced Millman to keep running along the baseline.
The Serb sent sharp returns to deep corners mixed with elegant drop shots to work Millman.
Djokovic fired off six aces, committed no double faults and scored points from 26 of his 30 successful first serves.
He never faced a break point, while Millman managed to survive only one of four break points during the match.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka yesterday 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.
The 21-year-old two-time Grand Slam champion emerged victorious after 110 minutes in Beijing: 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
After defeating Caroline Wozniacki in Saturday’s semi-finals, Osaka called her serve “confusing.”
Yesterday’s sixth game was similar when Osaka conjured up a double fault, then an ace and then another double fault against Australia’s Barty. She was broken when she planted a forehand into the net.
Osaka’s shoulder appeared to be causing her mild discomfort, as she was touching it and rotating it between points.
When Barty, 23, wrapped up the first set in 34 minutes, frustration was creeping in for Osaka.
However, much of the crowd in Beijing was for Osaka and they cheered when she broke Barty to move 4-2 up in the second set.
“Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash,” Osaka said. “This is a final. I’m really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting.”
Osaka was then in control and broke Barty in the first game of the deciding set, on the way to victory.
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