Naomi Osaka recovered from a set down to beat top seed Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the China Open final on Sunday.
Barty started the stronger of the two players and took the opening set after troubling Osaka with her shot placement. However, the Japanese clawed herself back into contention in the second stanza, as she grabbed a key break and was imperious on serve.
It meant those at the Beijing Tennis Center were treated to a decider, in which Osaka excelled, snatching an early break and playing some of her best tennis of the year.
Here is the moment Osaka secured the championship:
Per Jose Morgado of Record, the fourth seed is in brilliant form ahead of the WTA Finals later in October:
Both players served well to start the match, with the opening four games shared with minimal fuss.
The contest burst into life in the fifth game. Osaka found some rhythm on the return and managed to carve out a break point; Barty retained her composure, though, and edged back in front at 3-2.
The next game was titanic. Barty forced deuce five times, as well as three break points. The Australian seized the third, with George Bellshaw of Metro noting the top seed ground down her opponent:
Barty faced another break point in the next game. Osaka wasn't able to seize upon it again, though, as her opponent put together one of her best points of the match:
From 5-2 in front, Barty moved through the gears and served out the set to love, clinching it 6-3.
Per The Tennis Podcast, at the end of the set, Osaka didn't appear to know how to deal with Barty's deep slices:
The opening stages of the second stanza mirrored those of the first, with little separating the players when they did settle down into rallies.
This time, it was Osaka's turn to seize momentum midway through the stanza. In the sixth game, she took a break point chance and was rock-solid on serve for the remainder of set.
From there, the momentum was with the two-time Grand Slam champion, as she piled on the pressure at the start of the final set with a break of serve:
After holding with yet another strong service game, Osaka was noticeably filled with confidence, whereas her opponent started to toil. Barty was struggling to make any kind of dent in the Japanese's serve, and her own work with the ball in hand, which was so sharp in the opening set, deteriorated as the match wore on.
That was most evident in the seventh game of the decider, when Osaka was able to break her opponent to love. Unsurprisingly, from there she was able to close out the match with what's becoming a trademark ruthlessness.