Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won her only previous Tour encounter with No.1 seed Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-3 in the 2017 Hong Kong quarterfinals en route to taking the title over Daria Gavrilova in the final. However, Osaka won a 2018 Hopman Cup rubber over the Russian 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5).
Osaka and Pavlyuchenkova are both former Toray Pan Pacific Open runners-up - when the event was held in Tokyo - bidding to lift the trophy for the first time. Osaka reached her first Premier-level final here in 2016, losing 7-5, 6-3 to Caroline Wozniacki, and backed up her US Open title last year by making the final in her next tournament, falling 6-4, 6-4 to Karolina Pliskova. Pavlyuchenkova was also to runner-up to Wozniacki in 2017, losing 6-0, 7-5.
Osaka is seeking her fourth career title and second of the year following the Australian Open. So far, the Japanese No.1 is 3-2 in finals, with her only losses coming at this tournament.
Pavlyuchenkova is bidding for her 13th career title and third at Premier level following Paris and Moscow in 2014. The 28-year-old is 12-6 in career finals (2-3 at Premier level), with her most recent being a title run at Strasbourg 2018.
A win would make Osaka the second home Toray Pan Pacific Open champion following Kimiko Date, who defeated Lindsay Davenport 6-1, 6-2 in the 1995 final. Pavlyuchenkova would be the fifth Russian victor in the tournament's history following Maria Sharapova (2005 and 2009), Elena Dementieva (2006), Dinara Safina (2008) and Nadia Petrova (2012).
Victory today would mark the smallest title of Osaka's career to date. The 21-year-old, who did not play juniors and did not win any ITF titles, owns two Grand Slams and one Premier Mandatory trophy so far.
ORDER OF PLAY (starts 12 noon)
 Naomi OSAKA (JPN) vs Anastasia PAVLYUCHENKOVA (RUS)