Osaka routed Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation 6-3, 6-2 to win the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday in a matchup of 20-year-old rising stars that marked the first title of her career.
The Russian has posted victories over each of the four reigning Grand Slam champions within the past seven months, and her route to the Indian Wells title match has seen her defeat four consecutive top-20 players and Major winners.
"She was much better today than me, so she really deserved to win", Kasatkina said. She came into the tournament at No. 19, two spots lower than her career-best.
"I think I am doing that so I don't really mind where my ranking is because I am sure at the end of the year if I keep playing well like this it will be pretty high".
Kasatkina's coach visited her again before the third set. Osaka got the first victor on the board to hold in the third game, and Kasatkina responded in kind, using her light footwork and tactical smarts to hold her own.
Osaka summed up the imminent final, the first-time meeting between the two young stars, perfectly: "I feel like we're a new generation that is trying to push through".
Kastakina won five of her six break point opportunities in a dominant performance.
Kasatkina held at 5-2 but won just one point on Osaka's final service game.More news: Opposition Leaders Call For Clarity Over Varadkar's Planning Call
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She was only the fourth unseeded player to reach the Indian Wells final, with the most recent before her being Kim Clijsters in 2005.
"Maybe, yeah, from the side or with the score it looks like it was simple, but of course it's not", Kasatkina said.
The turning point in the third set came for Halep after she won a challenge in the eighth game with Martic holding serve.
The top seed battled through three closely matched sets amid windy conditions on court to win 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-3.
Osaka beat the current No. 1 player on the WTA Tour, 26-year-old Simona Halep, by hitting harder and smarter and dispatching the sulking Romanian in two quick sets.
Her inexperience at making victory speeches showed. Interestingly, this was the Japanese's first singles title of any kind, and she has not triumphed on the ITF level either.
Kasatkina, who wasn't even born when Williams first competed at Indian Wells, said she really felt the nerves getting to her on the big stage in the final. She did it for the second time at Indian Wells, winning their third round match 6-4, 6-3.
"I just really wanted to get a lot of balls back, because in Australia I made too many unforced errors, and be really consistent on her return and not to give her any free points", Osaka said.