OSAKA, Japan – Last year Samantha Stosur made the Japan Women’s Open Tennis the first tournament she’s ever won twice, and she continued to make it her favorite stomping grounds this year, edging Zarina Diyas in the final on Sunday to lift her third career title at the International event.
A day after grinding out a tight two-setter against Elina Svitolina in the semifinals, Stosur had to do it all over again against another WTA Rising Star in Diyas, who broke serve in the first game of the match and rode it to leads of 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3 in the first set – and after Stosur got the break back and battled her way to a tie-break, Diyas even brought up two set points, first at 6-5 and another at 7-6.
But the No.5-seeded Diyas just couldn’t get over the finish line and the No.1-seeded Stosur staved them both off, eventually sneaking out the set and breaking in the first game of the second set. She would never lose serve again and broke one last time in the final game to close it out, 7-6(7), 6-3.
Stosur’s serve may have been the shot of the match – after getting broken in the opening game of the match she held all nine of her other service games, fighting off all three break points she faced.
At the end of the day, Stosur collected her first WTA title of the year, and the sixth of her career after Osaka in 2009, Charleston in 2010, the US Open in 2011 and Carlsbad and Osaka in 2013.
“It’s great to win a title, and I left it pretty late to try and win one this year, so better late than never!” Stosur said after the match. “But I really love playing this tournament. Three times now – it’s just a great feeling to come back here each year, and if you win the title then it’s even better, obviously!”
It was a dream week at the Japan Women’s Open Tennis for Diyas too, though – before this week she had never been to a WTA semifinal, let alone a WTA final. Also this week, the Kazakhstani was named as one of the four players competing at the WTA Rising Stars Invitational, which is set to take place in Singapore in conjunction with the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global.
“Out of the five girls I played this week I’d never played four of them, so quite a few young ones here,” Stosur said. “Zarina’s quite a good player. I’d never seen her play too much before, but I can see why she’s one of the WTA Rising Stars, and I really had to play some good tennis to beat her today.”
The doubles final saw Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova beat Lara Arruabarrena and Tatjana Maria, 6-1, 6-2. It was their first title together; Aoyama now has five WTA doubles titles, Voracova nine.