TOKYO (Reuters) - Karolina Pliskova stunned home favourite and US Open champion Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-4 to win the Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo on Sunday.
Osaka, supremely confident and in top form coming into the final off the back of 10 consecutive wins, looked anxious throughout the contest and allowed Pliskova to win easily in just over an hour.
The Czech former world No. 1 came into the contest having spent 419 minutes on court this week, more than any other player despite a first-round bye and almost twice as long as Osaka.
It was the Japanese player who appeared more fatigued, however, and Osaka, who had not dropped a set during the tournament, hit a series of unforced errors and showed none of the poise and power that earned her a first Grand Slam title.
Pliskova was more than happy to take advantage, capitalising both times when presented with a break point and winning the last 11 points to secure her second WTA title of the campaign.
Osaka has now lost in the final of this tournament twice, having also been runner-up in 2016.
In clinching the title, Pliskova has taken a huge step towards securing her berth at the season-ending WTA Finals.
Pliskova is eighth in the race, with the top eight players qualifying for Singapore.
Kiki Bertens, who clinched her seventh WTA career title at the Korea Open on Sunday is just 69 points behind Pliskova with both women competing in Wuhan next week.