Naomi Osaka (JPN) vs.  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)
They met once before, about two years ago, in Hong Kong and Pavlyuchenkova won in straight sets; yet, that was before Osaka was ranked number one.
Pavlyuchenkova’s Injury Plagued Career
Pavlyuchenkova has battled injury and inconsistency for most of her career, but now seems fit and focused with a new coach on her team. Ranked as high as number thirteen in 2011, Pavlyuchenkova has always had the potential to breach the top ten; however, she has not gotten there yet. Perhaps 2020 will be the season that she fulfills her potential. Until then, the Russian is in her first final of the 2019 season and she will try to stop the crowd favorite, Osaka, from claiming the title tomorrow.
Osaka’s Unpredictable Coaching Team
A lot has been going on this season in the tennis life of the former number one ranked player and it has taken a toll, but Osaka is working through all the upheaval and is in her first final since she parted from her coach Sascha Bajin. In addition to changes in her coaching team, the Japanese player has also battled injury, most recently it was her left knee. Her fans will be delighted to see that she has not been wearing the brace and is moving quite well in Osaka.
Osaka Has The Crowd’s Approval
Osaka will have the crowd on her side, but if the Russian brings her game as she has done all tournament, we could have a rather exciting on the edge of our seats final. Yet, despite their head-to-head record, I give Osaka the slight advantage because she seems determined to re-establish her position atop the rankings. In addition, she has youth on her side, which will favor her bouncing back much quicker that her Russian opponent (they both had to play two matches today). Nevertheless, we cannot forget that Pavlyuchenkova is playing extremely well and has already knocked out two seeds en route to the final without dropping a set.
Who will claim the 2019 Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament title?
SOURCE OF IMAGES: Zimbio.com (main image: FELIPE TRUEBA/Getty Images North America-Naomi Osaka)