Ivanovic takes Pan Pacific title, Pliskova wins in Korea Open

Ivanovic takes Pan Pacific title, Pliskova wins in Korea Open
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Ivanovic takes Pan Pacific title, Pliskova wins in Korea Open
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Updated 21 September 2014

Ivanovic takes Pan Pacific title, Pliskova wins in Korea Open

Ivanovic takes Pan Pacific title, Pliskova wins in Korea Open

TOKYO: Ana Ivanovic charged the net repeatedly to overcome US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) in the final of the WTA Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo Sunday.
The 26-year-old Serb needed 99 minutes to win the battle of the former world No.1s, stretching her head-to-head tally of wins over the second-seeded Dane to five-two.
“It was so hard physically. We had a lot of long rallies but to win the title is amazing,” said the third-seeded Ivanovic, who had ousted Germany’s top-seed Angelique Kerber in the semifinals.
“I really tried to come into the net and finished a lot of points at the net,” said the Serb, who is ranked 10th in the world and has won 15 WTA titles, four of them this year.
“I am happy because Wozniacki is a great defensive player and she gets a lot of balls back.” It was the first Pan Pacific Open title for Ivanovic, who has competed in the Tokyo event for eight straight years.
Ivanovic broke the 24-year-old Dane’s serve in the first, fifth and seventh games of the first set on a sun-drenched hard-center court at the Ariake Coliseum.
She rushed forward to volley a cross-court winner at the outset of the eighth and finished the set with two straight service aces.
World No. 9 Wozniacki, looking to get over her loss to Serena Williams in the US Open final two weeks ago, led 3-1 early in the second set.
The players broke each other twice and leveled at 4-4 when the Serb overcame a break point, smashed in from the net and forced Wozniacki to hit a backhand long.
Wozniacki slumped to 6-2 in the tie break, hitting four successive shots long and wide. On match point, Ivanovic slammed a forehand down the line well clear of a helpless Wozniacki, the 2010 Pan Pacific Open champion.
“I tried to serve and return well. I tried to play the first couple of balls out wide so she has to run for it,” said the Dane. “But Ana was playing very aggressively.” Ivanovic also beat Wozniacki in their last encounter — by 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 in the semifinals at the WTA event in Monterrey in March.
With her win in Tokyo, the Serb earned the top prize money of $196,700 in the $1 million event while $104,900 went to the runner-up.
Both Ivanovic, who topped the world rankings in 2008, and Wozniacki, who reigned in 2010 and 2011, are bound for the big-money WTA event in Wuhan, China, in the coming week.
Both of them are aiming to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore next month, which will feature the world’s top eight players.

Pliskova takes title in Seoul
Rising star Karolina Pliskova earned her second career title with a 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 victory over America’s Varvara Lepchenko in the WTA Korea Open final Sunday.
The 22-year-old saw her one-set lead evaporate when first-time finalist Lepchenko took a tight second set to level the match.
But 32nd-ranked Pliskova stormed to a 4-0 lead in the final set to lift a trophy for the second time in Asia after she won in Kuala Lumpur last year.
Pliskova beat Russia’s Maria Kirilenko on her way to the final while Lepchenko stunned defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska.

Venus crashes
In Wuhan, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams crashed out of the $2.4 million WTA Wuhan Open in the first round Sunday in a nail-biting three-set defeat to French player Caroline Garcia.
Garcia took the first set 6-4, only to suffer a 6-4 reverse in the second before clinching victory in more than two-and-a-half hours, in a tie break, which finished 8/6.
She will now face Polish fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round.
Williams, 34, arrived in Wuhan after losing the Quebec City tournament final to Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni last Sunday.
Elsewhere in the tournament, home favorite Xu Shilin was forced to retire from her match with American Alison Riske in the third set with the scores at 6-6.
The 16-year-old wildcard was carried of with heatstroke after playing more than 2 hours 45 minutes in high temperatures in the central Chinese city.
The Wuhan Open will reach its climax on Sept.27.
Nineteen of the top 20 players are attending the Premier WTA event, including Venus’s sister, world No.1 Serena Williams.

Azarenka out for season with injury
Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka pulled out of the Wuhan Open in China on Sunday and said she will miss the rest of the season as she battles a foot injury.
The Belarussian has slid down the rankings to 25th after a year in which she has struggled with a left foot injury that caused her to sit out the French Open.
“Unfortunately I will not be competing in any tournaments for the remainder of the season,” she said on her Facebook page.
“It has been a very tough year for me.” The two-time Australian Open champion said she had been “pushing and pushing” in a bid to recover, “but that does not appear to be the best approach for me.” The 25-year-old was a wildcard entry at the Wuhan Open, a $2.4 million premier-ranking WTA event.
Lucky loser Annika Beck of Germany has replaced her in the main draw.