Naomi Osaka won her second straight WTA title Sunday as she fought back from a set down to beat world number one Ashleigh Barty in the final of the China Open.
The battle of the two women to most recently hold the top ranking did not disappoint with Japan’s Osaka coming out on top 3-6 6-3 6-2 after one hour 50 minutes in Beijing.
Two-time grand slam champion Osaka was coming off her victory on home soil at the Pan Pacific Open and beat US Open champion Bianca Andreescu and title holder Caroline Wozniacki on the way to the final.
The early omens were not promising for the 21-year-old as she served up two double faults on the way to being broken in the sixth game and losing the opening set.
The fightback for Osaka started in the sixth game of the second set as Barty hit a forehand long to trail 2-4.
Osaka held serve to level at one set apiece and an immediate break at the start of the second left her in control.
It was the third title of 2019 for Osaka and fifth overall, but she revealed that she needed to give herself a pep talk after her early struggles in the final.
“Basically I was telling myself to keep fighting even though my attitude was really trash. This is a final, I’m really privileged to be here in the first place, so keep fighting,” she said.
The pair will resume their budding rivalry at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen later this month, Osaka clinching her place in the $14 million showpiece earlier this week.