Naomi Osaka is the first champion at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, ousting Caroline Garcia in the WTA Rising Stars Invitational final.
WTA Staff

SINGAPORE - Many of you knew her as the talented up-and-comer who stunned Sam Stosur in the first round of the Bank Of The West Classic in Stanford last summer, but there's another reason to keep an eye on Japan's Naomi Osaka now - she's this year's WTA Rising Stars Invitational champion.

Osaka, who just turned 18 years old a week ago, held her nerve through a very tense finish to the second set to stun heavy favorite Caroline Garcia in the final on Sunday afternoon, 3-5, 5-4(6), 4-1.

The No.35-ranked Garcia is the second-highest-ranked player Osaka has beaten in her blossoming career after the aforementioned win over Stosur - the Australian was ranked No.19 at the time.

"In the very beginning I was really nervous because it was really big - I've never even practiced on this court. So just being there, I was nervous," Osaka said. "When the match started I started off really slow, because I do that, I start off really slow! But then I started playing somewhat okay."

Osaka was asked how surprised she was to be holding the trophy at the end of it all.

"How surprised? I'm not really that surprised. I'm more surprised that I got into the finals than that I won, because I didn't do that well, only won one match. I was very thankful for this opportunity."

And what does it mean to her and her future that she's got this title under her belt?

"Well, hopefully they keep the tournament here, so I know the surface and stuff. So when I come back as an actual player, then I'll know. I'll be able to know what the surface is and stuff," Osaka said.

"I really want to come back," she added. "I actually haven't really explored Singapore. I was really tired, so I just slept when I was in the hotel. I kind of want to look around, but I don't really have time."

Currently in its second year, the WTA Rising Stars Invitational brings four WTA Rising Stars together through a fan vote to compete alongside the best of the best at the WTA Finals - Zhu Lin from China and Ons Jabeur from Tunisia were the other two players in this year's four-woman field in Singapore.

Puerto Rico's Monica Puig won the inaugural WTA Rising Stars Invitational a year ago.

Garcia's stay in Singapore this year isn't done by any means - she's competing in the women's doubles alongside Katarina Srebotnik. They play their first match at the Singapore Sports Hub on Monday.