Osaka Mayor’s Cup 2011 – Finals

Jiri Vesely (CZE) Jiri Vesely showed why he is the world number one and all but guaranteed his place there in the year-end rankings thanks to a second Grade A title of the year at the Osaka Mayor’s Cup.

The 18-year-old became the first Czech player to win the event after being taken to three sets by Lucas Pouille. He’s now finally added to the Australian Open crown he gained in January having lost in the US Open final.

It proved to be one step too far for Frenchman Pouille, who had beaten second seed Luke Saville amongst other seeded players to get to the final.

The pair had only met on one other occasion, with Vesely recovering from a first set loss to triumph on the clay of last year’s Banana Bowl. This year on hard court, Vesely won the opener but costly mistakes in the second set meant the world number 131 levelled the scores.

An early break in the decider let the top seed in and he punished his opponent clinically to take the match 6-2, 2-6, 6-1.

It was a good day all round for the Czech as him and partner Kaichi Uchida also took the boys’ doubles crown after a rain delay on Saturday postponed the match. They eventually defeated Luke Saville and Andrew Harris 1-6, 7-5 [10-4].

For the second year running a Japanese finalist lost out in the girls’ event. Miho Kowase couldn’t stop Saisai Zheng from winning in 2010 and Makoto Ninomiya suffered the same fate against Poland’s Zuzanna Maciejewska.

Seventh seed Ninomiya went into the match as favourite given her higher ranking position and support from the home crowd but 12th seed Maciejewska wasn’t overawed.

It took her a while to get going, the first set going to a tiebreak which she scraped 7-5 but after that she ran riot to win 7-6 (7-5), 6-1. She is the first Polish champion at the Osaka Mayor’s Cup after going one better than Aleksandra Olsza’s runner-up spot in 1995.

There was, however, some joy for the Japanese audience as home players Mami Adachi and Eri Hozumi edged compatriots Miyu Kato and Riko Sawayanagi 5-7, 7-5 [10-7] in the girls’ doubles final.

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