United States Open champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Wuhan Open in China on Sunday (Sep 23), hours after losing to former world number one Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
Having not dropped a set over the course of the week, Osaka will next face a player who has needed three dramatic sets in each of her matches to reach her second final of the season.
Karolina Pliskova has accomplished what 10 others have tried and failed to do over the past month: beat Naomi Osaka.
The Czech former world number one came into the contest having spent 419 minutes on court this week, more than any other player despite a first round bye and nearly twice as long as Osaka.
Pliskova was more than happy to take advantage, capitalising both times when presented with a break point and winning the last 11 points to secure her second WTA title of the campaign.
"I was just trying to serve well, to mix the speed also a little bit, to play lots to her backhand", she added.
Fittingly, Pliskova wrapped up the match in the same way Osaka had started it - with an ace - to take victory.
Two years ago, Osaka lost in the final to Caroline Wozniacki, this year's top-seeded player who was eliminated by Giorgi on Thursday.
It ended Osaka's 10-match winning streak and handed Pliskova - now ranked eighth, one place below Osaka - the 11th major tour title of her career. "I haven't really had much time to rest, so I feel exhausted right now".
"To play the final of the U.S. Open and then to come here, I think I did pretty well", Osaka said.
When asked to explain her lackluster performance, Osaka replied: "If I know I would have fixed it".