World number four Naomi Osaka showed no signs of fatigue as she powered past Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1 in her second match of the day to reach the Pan Pacific Open final on Saturday.
Osaka was forced to double up after persistent showers had washed out her quarter-final against Yulia Putintseva on Friday and the top seed outclassed her Kazakh opponent 6-4 6-4 to advance to the semi-finals in Osaka, Japan.
Up next for the twice Grand Slam champion is Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who ended Angelique Kerber’s resurgence with a 6-3 6-3 victory.
Osaka, runner-up in 2016 and 2018 when the tournament was held in Tokyo, will play in her first final since she winning the Australian Open title on the hardcourts of Melbourne.
The 21-year-old earlier said it was her preferred surface after dispatching Putintseva, who shocked the Japanese in the first round of Wimbledon this year.