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21 March 2018, 07:59 | Donald Newman
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Coming in as the world No. 44 in women's singles tennis, she will jump in the rankings all the way up to the No. 22 position this week.
Osaka dropped her serve in the opening game but rarely faltered thereafter as she sealed victory in 70 minutes against an opponent who had beaten four major champions, Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams, en route to the final. With her fourth-round finish at the US Open previous year, she would begin a run of wins over all four reigning Major champions-French Open victor Jelena Ostapenko, Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza, US victor Sloane Stephens, and Australian champion Caroline Wozniacki, plus current No1 Halep.
Kasatkina, who will be ranked a career-high No. 11 on Monday, was contesting a second consecutive final, having finished as runner-up in Dubai last month.
Osaka has enjoyed a stunning fortnight in California as she beat Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep to reach Sunday's final.
"I think we were both nervous at the beginning, because the biggest finals so far, " Kasatkina said.
"In one moment you just catch yourself, like, you're in night session, all crowd, you're playing against a legend, and you are in the third set", Kasatkina said. But Kasatkina had too much for the Dane, defeating her in two hard fought sets 6-4 7-5.
Del Potro lost just six points on his serve in the first set. Osaka took advantage, serving out the opening set 6-3.
"I feel like I have made it my goal to be more focused every match this year, so I think it's paid off", she said.
It helps, too, that Osaka possesses a powerful and consistent serve that can help her dominate service games and get her out of trouble.
The 20-year-old then embarked on what she expected to be quite a poor victory speech.
Osaka thanked her Haiti-born father and Japan-born mother, who weren't on hand.
Power and aggression do play key roles in Osaka's armoury but it is controlled power and measured aggression. It seems unlikely: the only sign of her nerves and lack of experience surfaced as she lifted the heavy BNP Paribas Open trophy.
"Um, hello ... I'm Naom ... oh never mind".
Osaka has impressed a lot this week with her mental fortitude throughout the tournament, but admitted that she had to keep a calm façade. It was his first win against Federer since last year's U.S. Open quarters.
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