Zarina Diyas is the new champion of the Japan Women's Open in Tokyo after she bested home player Miyu Kato by 6-2 7-5 in an hour and 17 minutes. This was the battle of the qualifiers, with both players seeking the first WTA title, and it was Diyas who performed better to go all the way. This was her 8th match in 8 days, losing in the semi-final in China last week, and she had to play 2 qualifying matches on the same day last Sunday.
Kazakhstani played well on both the first and second serve, facing just 2 break points and dropping serve once. On the other hand, Kato couldn't keep up with that pace from her rival, making too many errors and losing almost half of the points in her games to be broken 4 times from 7 chances Diyas created.
She raised her level in the second set to stay close to her rival, but a late break from Zarina gave her the triumph and the maiden WTA crown. 23-year-old was off to a good start, breaking Kato in the very first game when Japanese netted an easy forehand, and again in game 7 when Kato double faulted to fall 5-2 behind.
Serving for the set in game 8, Diyas saved a break point with a service winner and she brought the set home after a solid forehand attack. After 4 commanding holds at the start of the second set, Diyas fired a forehand winner to convert her 4th break point and earn a 3-2 lead, moving closer to the finish line.
Kato finally managed to do something more on the return, breaking back in the following game when Zarina sent a freehand long, and the result was even at 3-3. The next 4 games saw good holds, without deuces or break points, before Diyas made the crucial move to break in the 11th game with a return winner.
She sealed the deal with 2 service winners in game 12, celebrating her biggest success on the Tour so far. Final result: