TOKYO (Reuters) – Zarina Diyas made it second time lucky at the Japan Women’s Open on Sunday when she beat fellow qualifier and local hopeful Miyu Kato 6-2 7-5 to win her maiden WTA title.
The 23-year-old Kazakh lost to Sam Stosur in her only previous WTA final at the tournament in 2014 when it was still held in Osaka but never looked like ending up as runner-up again this year.
The world number 100, who beat defending champion Christina McHale in the semi-finals, took a 5-2 lead off a Kato double fault before wrapping up the opening set when one of her powerful forehands forced an error out of her opponent.
Diyas crunched another forehand down-the-line winner for a third break of the match to go 3-2 up in the second set and although Kato broke back immediately, it only delayed the inevitable.
A fourth break saw Diyas serving for the match and she converted her first championship point to win her eighth consecutive match at the tournament when the world number 171 went long with a forehand return.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, editing by Sudipto Ganguly)