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Tennis: Wozniacki routs Russian to retain WTA Pan Pacific Open title

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia during the women’s singles final at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo. (AFP)
TOKYO: Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki romped to a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Sunday to win her third WTA Pan Pacific Open.
The Danish former world number one needed only 75 minutes to complete the rout under the Tokyo sunshine, capturing her first title of the year after losing in six finals.
Third-seed Wozniacki stormed through the first set in just 22 minutes, blazing winners past a stunned Pavlyuchenkova, who was firing blanks until the start of the second.
The Russian saved a match point in the 10th game before Wozniacki converted on her third opportunity, the world number six fizzing a backhand pass down the line to claim her 26th career title.
“It was my seventh final this year and obviously after a while it gets harder and harder,” said Wozniacki after winning her first tournament since Hong Kong in October last year.
“Obviously I’ve won here in the past and it has great memories for me so I’m happy I was able to stay focused and aggressive.”
Wozniacki, also Tokyo winner in 2010 and runner-up in 2014, joined former greats Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini with three Pan Pacific Open crowns.
Martina Hingis holds the record with five.
Wozniacki, who destroyed world number one Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 in semifinals, never gave Pavlyuchenkova a sniff in their first meeting since 2012.
There were early warning signs for the Russian after Wozniacki pulled off an outrageous backhand from way outside the court that flashed past the net post and nibbled the line to give her a 3-0 lead in the first set.
As she slumped dejectedly in her chair, Pavlyuchenkova squabbled with coach Simon Goffin.
Despite being told not to by her coach, the world number 23 continued to sulk as Wozniacki produced an exquisite drop volley to take the next game and a crunching backhand to claim the set.
Pavlyuchenkova managed to stop the rot in the second set and raised a sheepish grin after winning her first game of the match.
But she never looked like adding to the titles she won in Monterrey and Rabat with Wozniacki in such sparkling form, Pavlyuchenkova finally crumbling under the relentless pressure after salvaging a measure of pride in the second set.

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