Karolina Muchova took just over an hour to beat Magda Linette in a rain-delayed Korea Open final, claiming her first WTA title in the process.

The pair had to wait six hours to take to the court, but Muchova wasted little time in dispatching Bronx Open winner Linette 6-1 6-1 in Seoul.

It was only the second meeting between Muchova and Linette, who had won a two-hour 45-minute encounter 6-7 (7-4) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) en route to her success in New York.

Wimbledon quarter-finalist Muchova has enjoyed a career-best season and was in no mood to give up on a chance to win her maiden title.

Muchova started as she meant to go on, breaking serve twice in the first three games to take a 5-1 lead before wrapping up a 32-minute first set with another break.

Set two followed a similar trend, Linette - three below Muchova in the WTA rankings - conceding her first service game.

Muchova took full advantage, breaking again in the sixth game and going on to serve out the victory with two match points to spare.

Li Na does not appear open to the idea of a return to the WTA Tour after amusingly shutting down a question about Kim Clijsters at the Wuhan Open.

Clijsters announced plans for a stunning comeback this month, aiming to play on the Tour in 2020 having retired after the 2012 US Open.

The Belgian is 36 years old but Li, one year her senior, does not intend to follow suit.

Appearing at the Wuhan Open to celebrate her induction into the Tennis Hall of Fame, Li interrupted one question after just two words: "Kim Clijsters..."

"I'm not coming back," the two-time major champion interjected to some amusement.

"I wish her the best. But as for me, I'm telling you for sure, 100 per cent, I'm staying home."

Li said of her Hall of Fame induction: "My name is placed alongside so many legends. That is something, the best achievement in my tennis career.

"Being able to do this is everything to me. Such sense of excitement is no less than achieving the grand slam title."

Naomi Osaka cruised past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3 to claim her maiden Pan Pacific Open title, a homecoming victory she hailed as "special".

World number four Osaka had previously finished as runner up in the tournament in 2016 and 2018, when the WTA event was held in Tokyo.

However, a switch to the 21-year-old's birthplace Osaka did the trick, with the top seed bouncing back from the disappointment of her round of 16 exit in the US Open in style.

Having not won a trophy since securing her second successive grand slam title at the Australian Open in January, Osaka powered past the world number 41 in straight sets on Sunday.

"It's really special for me to win here," Osaka, who won 100 per cent of her first service points, said.

"This is the city where I was born and honestly I think that gave me a lot of power to play constantly match after match. I just want to say thank you to everyone.

"I just love playing here, so I'll be here next year, though it's probably going to be in Tokyo."

Osaka made her intentions of sealing a swift victory clear from the off, racing into a 2-0 lead as Pavlyuchenkova failed to cope with the former world number one's powerful serves.

A superb lob ended a frenetic rally to make it 5-2 - a Pavlyuchenkova error then handing Osaka the set in the next game.

Another early break followed for Osaka in set two and, despite Pavlyuchenkova saving three break points before holding off two match points, victory was ensured when the Russian clipped into the net.

Osaka's triumph is her first on Japanese soil, while she became the first home player to win the Pan Pacific Open since Kimiko Date in 1995.

Naomi Osaka will face the unseeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final of the Pan Pacific Open after both players came through two matches on Saturday.

Top seed Osaka - a two-time runner-up in this event before it moved from Tokyo to Osaka - overcame Yulia Putintseva and Elise Mertens in straight sets after rain prevented her from taking to the court on Friday, winning eight of the last nine games against the latter to triumph 6-4 6-1.

The win over Putintseva was a particularly sweet one for Osaka, given the Ukrainian had won their last three meetings in straight sets, including a first-round success at Wimbledon earlier this year. 

While Osaka's presence in the final is no huge surprise, even if she has not made a decider since winning the Australian Open in January, Pavlyuchenkova has exceeded all expectations this week.

After thumping Misaki Doi 6-2 6-2 to end hopes of an all-Japanese final, Pavlyuchenkova shocked fourth seed Angelique Kerber with a 6-3 6-3 win.

The Russian will now contest her first final of 2019, having not dropped a set so far in this event.

 

Sofia Kenin came from a set down to defeat Samantha Stosur 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 and win her third WTA Tour title of 2019 at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

American 20-year-old Kenin produced a pivotal break at 4-4 in the second set, which came as she reeled off seven games in succession to turn the match on its head.

The third seed went a break up in the opener but surrendered her advantage and lost out in the tie-break when she sent a forehand from the baseline long.

Stosur, who was looking for her first WTA Tour singles title in over two years, dropped her serve at the start of the second but gave up just one point across three games to edge in front.

Kenin showed great character to force a decider and held to love either side of successive breaks to gain an advantage she did not relinquish, staving off a break point to take a 5-1 lead before serving out the match.

Karolina Muchova and Magda Linette will battle it out for glory at the Korea Open on Sunday.

Muchova defeated Wang Yafan 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 after coming from a break down in the first set, while Linette saved four set points before sealing a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (9-7) win over Ekaterina Alexandrova with her fourth match point.

Sam Stosur has the chance to land her first WTA title since 2017 when she takes on Sofia Kenin in the final of the Guangzhou International Women's Open on Saturday.

The Australian, the 2011 US Open champion, hit back to see off Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 on Friday and advance to her first title match since Strasbourg in 2017.

"I just tried to hang in there and find a way to start playing a bit better," said Stosur, who will return next week to the world's top 100 as a result of her run in China.

"She's very tough to play against so I'm just happy to get through. 

"This is where everyone wants to be, so to now make it to the final, I'm really happy and I'll give it my best shot on Saturday."

Third-seeded American Kenin also required three sets to battle past Anna Blinkova 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-1.

In Seoul, second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova overcame being a break down in the deciding set to beat Kristie Ahn 6-7 (0-7) 6-4 6-4.

The big-serving Russian, who fired down 22 aces, will meet fourth seed Magda Linette in the semi-finals. Linette was an impressive 6-2 6-3 victor over Kirsten Flipkens.

The other last-four clash pits Karolina Muchova against Wang Yafan.

Muchova beat Priscilla Hon 6-3 6-3 while Wang dropped just four games in easing past Paula Badosa.

Angelique Kerber was the only player to book her place in the Pan Pacific Open semi-finals on Friday as rain washed out three other matches.

Kerber was in action against Madison Keys and advanced courtesy of the American's retirement in Osaka.

Keys had pegged the German back by winning the second set but then succumbed to injury having been broken at the start of the third, down 6-4 4-6 2-1 when she called time.

Kerber said: "It was a really good match in the first two sets and this is never the way that you want to win the match.

"I hope Madison will recover really soon so she is ready for the next tournaments.

"I tried to give everything I could today and I'm looking forward to playing the next round."

However, the three-time grand slam champion was still waiting to learn the identity of her last-four opponent after the weather intervened.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova broke for a 2-0 lead over Misaki Doi in the opener before the rain started to fall, suspending the match for several hours before it was put back to Saturday.

Hometown hero Naomi Osaka, the former world number one, did not get on the court at all against Yulia Putintseva. Elise Mertens was also made to wait to take on Camila Giorgi.

Zhang Shuai's bid for a third Guangzhou Open crown was ended by Viktorija Golubic in Thursday's quarter-final.

The two-time champion, whose only WTA Tour singles titles have come at this event, came up short as Golubic ran out a 6-3 3-6 6-4 winner.

Sofia Kenin, another seed, staged a remarkable first-set turnaround to ensure she remained in the competition.

The American trailed 5-2 in the opener but rallied to defeat Jasmine Paolini 7-5 6-1.

Former US Open winner Sam Stosur came through 6-2 7-6 (7-1) against Nina Stojanovic, while Anna Blinkova defeated Marie Bouzkova, who had ousted Elina Svitolina.

At the Korea Open, Priscilla Hon stunned Australian compatriot and 2018 runner-up Ajla Tomljanovic in a 6-3 5-7 6-1 win.

The 21-year-old qualifier was playing Tomljanovic for the first time.

Karolina Muchova eased past Timea Babos, as Paula Badosa saw off Patricia Maria Tig.

Kiki Bertens, Sloane Stephens and Donna Vekic were dealt shock defeats in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open on Thursday.

The three seeded players came up short to blow the draw wide open, although former world number one and home favourite Naomi Osaka remains in the competition.

Dutch star Bertens was the second seed but failed to recover from a dismal start against 2017 finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and went down 6-1 7-5 to the Russian in the late match on centre court.

American Stephens, the third seed, had also earlier been humbled as she was knocked out by Camila Giorgi.

The Italian was a 6-0 6-3 winner and faces Elise Mertens in the quarter-finals.

"It was a good match, for sure, and I was able to play my game, show off my attacking style and be consistent," said Italian Giorgi, who lost to Osaka in the last four in 2018.

Giorgi told the WTA's website: "When I play, I always focus on myself. I only made a few mistakes. That's always been my way, ever since I was little, to attack, to go forward, to put the pressure on. This surface suits my game, too."

Wildcard Misaki Doi joined fellow Japanese player Osaka - who went through on Wednesday - in the last eight by beating Vekic, another beaten semi-finalist 12 months ago.

Doi, who is also through to the doubles semi-finals, reached the Japan Women's Open final last week and is maintaining a bid to go a step further this time.

She defeated Croatian Vekic 7-6 (7-5) 6-3, while Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva at least avoided an upset, crushing Russian player Varvara Flink 6-1 6-1 to set up a clash with Osaka on Friday.

Top seed Elina Svitolina retired at 4-6 3-4 down to Marie Bouzkova, who progressed to the quarter-finals of the Guangzhou Open at the expense of the world number three.

Svitolina became Bouzkova's third top-10 victim this season, following wins over Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens at the Rogers Cup.

"Of course it was a really tough match, even if [Svitolina] wasn't 100 per cent," Bouzkova said afterwards. "She was fighting really hard, as much as she could, as much as her body allowed her to.

"It was mentally a tricky match for me, because I knew in the end she's not feeling her best. I tried to stay there, stay aggressive, and not give her any easy points."

Zhang Shuai, a two-time winner in this tournament on home soil, overcame Andrea Petkovic 7-5 6-4 and will take on Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic, who stunned fifth seed Katerina Siniakova 4-6 7-5 6-0.

Sofia Kenin is the highest seed left in the draw following a 6-4 6-2 triumph over wildcard Katarina Zavatska. Kenin's next opponent will be Jasmine Paolini, the Italian qualifier who bested Zheng Saisai 7-5 3-6 7-5 in a marathon encounter.

Veteran 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur also went the distance and prevailed 6-4 1-6 7-6 (7-5) against Bernarda Pera.

Number two seed Ekaterina Alexandrova came from a set down to beat Kristyna Pliskova 3-6 6-3 6-4 and book a place in the quarter-finals of the Korea Open.

The contest rattled along at a considerable pace, lasting only one hour and 32 minutes, with the decisive moment coming when Alexandrova claimed the third break point on offer having reduced the Pliskova serve to 0-40, before going on to close out the decider.

The world number 39 will face in-form American Kristie Ahn, who was also taken the distance by Romania's Ana Bogdan.

After a nightmare first set, Ahn turned things around to prevail 0-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) courtesy of a dominant third-set tie break.

Magda Linette continued her own impressive hard-court form by seeing off Anastasia Potapova 7-5 7-6 (7-4) and will take on Kirsten Flipkens – an authoritative 6-3 7-5 winner against seventh seed Margarita Gasparyan.

On a day of comeback wins, Wang Yafan overcame Ysaline Bonaventure 4-6 6-3 6-0.

Naomi Osaka thrilled her hometown fans with a straight-sets win over Viktoriya Tomova at the Pan Pacific Open.

The world number four was forced to come from a double break down in the opening set against Bulgarian qualifier Tomova on Wednesday.

But Osaka, operating without the left knee brace she wore throughout the US Open, began to work through her repertoire and hit 40 winners, including 13 aces, to close out a 7-5 6-3 triumph.

"I know in the first set, I just started slow, and then in the second set, I just made a lot of really bad decisions in the first game," top seed Osaka told reporters afterwards.

"Other than that, I knew that I was the power player, and that I was the one that was kind of dictating how the match would go.

"It gave me a little bit of comfort knowing that if I just dialled down my unforced errors, I was going to win."

Osaka could face Yulia Putintseva in the quarter-finals, her Wimbledon conqueror who has won all three of the previous meetings between the pair.

First, though, Putintseva must get past Varvara Flink on Thursday.

Fellow seeds Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys and Elise Mertens all joined Osaka in the last eight.

Kerber claimed her first victory since Wimbledon by beating American qualifier Nicole Gibbs 6-2 6-4.

The three-time grand slam winner found herself a double break down in the second set but reeled off five consecutive games from 4-1 down to break a five-match losing streak.

"It's nice to have a win again," Kerber said. "The goal now is to finish the year as well as I can, to put all the energy which I have into this run in Asia and to play well in the next few weeks."

Keys is up next for Kerber after the American came from a set down to beat qualifier Zarina Diyas 5-7 6-0 6-4.

Belgium's Mertens was also forced into three sets by Hsieh Su-wei, eventually prevailing 6-3 1-6 6-2.

Elina Svitolina made up for a sluggish start by beating Dalila Jakupovic in straight sets at the Guangzhou Open but second seed Wang Qiang crashed out.

World number three Svitolina, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open, dropped her serve in the opening game of her first-round clash before reeling off five in succession en route to taking the set.

The top seeded Ukrainian fended off four break points to consolidate starting the second with a break, but she was unable to serve out the match at the first attempt.

Svitolina responded immediately, though, breaking to complete the 6-3 6-3 triumph in just 69 minutes and setting up a meeting with Marie Bouzkova.

Wang saved four match points against Shuai Peng but was unable to join Svitolina in the second round.

Although Wang moved ahead of Shuai with four breaks across the match, she got only 43 per cent of her first serves in and won just 54% of points behind it in a 7-5 6-2 loss.

Katarina Zavatska came from behind to defeat Fiona Ferro 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in three hours and 27 minutes – the longest WTA Tour main-draw match of the year.

Sofia Kenin, Zhang Shuai, Katerina Siniakova and Zheng Saisai were the other seeds to advance.

At the Korea Open, Patricia Maria Tig made the most of top seed Maria Sakkari's withdrawal due to a right wrist injury by defeating lucky loser Danka Kovinic 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-3).

Jelena Ostapenko, the champion in 2017, fell 6-3 6-3 to Timea Babos, while sixth seed Polona Hercog went down 6-3 3-6 6-1 against Ana Bogdan.

There were also wins for Karolina Muchova and Ajla Tomljanovic, seeded third and fifth respectively.

Madison Keys maintained her 100 per cent record against Daria Kasatkina by beating the Russian in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open.

Keys had dropped just one set in five previous meetings and rarely looked troubled in extending that record with a 6-3 6-4 victory in 75 minutes in Osaka.

The fifth-seeded American's aggressive style, which led to her hitting 24 winners, proved decisive as she set up a second-round clash with qualifier Zarina Diyas.

"I feel good, I'm always a little bit nervous ahead of my first matches," Keys said. "It's always hard to get out there and get all the nerves out, I started a little slow but I was really happy to get the win."

Seventh seed Donna Vekic also progressed after easing past Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-2. The Croatian will next face Misaki Doi, the runner-up at the Japan Women's Open on Sunday, following her 6-1 6-2 thrashing of Kristina Mladenovic.

Former world number one and two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza is out, however, after squandering a match point on her way to losing to Hsieh Su-wei.

Having won the first set, Muguruza appeared in control but then collapsed in the decider to go down 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-1.

The defeat continues a miserable run for the Spaniard, who has not won a match since beating Elina Svitolina in the third round of the French Open, while Hsieh can now look forward to a second-round encounter with Elise Mertens.

"In the first set, she was hitting the ball very hard, and I was not expecting a game like this," Hsieh said. "I was still trying to find a way to get into the match.

"In the second set, I felt a little bit more rhythm, and more stable." 

Nao Hibino, Doi's conqueror at the weekend, followed Muguruza out of the tournament after losing 6-4 7-5 to Varvara Flink of Russia.

Kristie Ahn built on her impressive run at the US Open by beginning the Korea Open with a double-bagel victory on Monday.

Ahn claimed her first three grand slam match wins to reach the last 16 at Flushing Meadows, beating former major champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko before losing to Elise Mertens.

The 27-year-old climbed 48 places in the rankings as a result - from 141st to 93rd - breaching the top 100 for the first time in her career.

Making her first appearance since the final grand slam of the year, wildcard Ahn carried on in impressive fashion as she took apart Timea Bacsinszky 6-0 6-0 in Seoul.

The four seeds in action on Monday all advanced in straight sets, with Magda Linette (4) easing past 2015 champion Irina-Camelia Begu.

New Russian number one Ekaterina Alexandrova (2), compatriot Margarita Gasparyan (7) and Wang Yafan (8) avoided shocks, as Kristyna Pliskova and Ysaline Bonaventure also progressed.

There were upsets for the seeds at the Guangzhou Open, however, with Aleksandra Krunic - the 2017 finalist now world number 123 - beating 50th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich (7).

Ons Jabeur (8) was also defeated, going down to Bernarda Pera in straight sets, while there were wins for veteran wildcard Sam Stosur, Viktorija Golubic and Marie Bouzkova.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will meet a familiar foe in the form of Kiki Bertens after comfortably dispatching of Dayana Yastremska 6-3 6-1 in round one of the Pan Pacific Open in Osaka.

World number 28 Yastremska – ranked 13 places higher than her opponent – showed flashes of her ability and power, but she ultimately paid the price for an erratic performance.

Yastremska made 23 unforced errors and could only hit 10 winners in the 55-minute contest, with Pavlyuchenkova's more considered and careful approach paying dividends.

Pavlyuchenkova's dubious reward is a fourth encounter of the year with Bertens, who she lost to at the US Open.

The Russian did come out on top at the Australian Open but was defeated by Bertens in St Petersburg prior to her loss at Flushing Meadows.

Ninth seed Elise Mertens – the highest ranked player in action on Monday – sailed through in similarly comfortable fashion, beating Whitney Osuigwe 6-3 6-1.

Alison Riske had no such fortune, however, losing to fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-4 6-3 despite the latter being ranked 105 places below her in the WTA rankings.

Reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig crashed out in comprehensive fashion, as Zarina Diyas hammered her 6-0 6-3.

The day's longest contest – by far – lasted two hours and 43 minutes, as Viktoriya Tomova came through 4-6 6-3 6-2 against France's Alize Cornet.

Camila Giorgi was pushed all the way in the first set against Han Xinyun before easing to victory in the second, with her 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 triumph ensuring she was one of few to prevent a surprise.

Naomi Osaka is the top seed for the tournament, though she does not begin her bid for success on home soil until later in the week.

Madison Keys – the fifth seed – starts her campaign on Tuesday, as she goes up against Daria Kasatkina.

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