Barty cleaned up her game in the second set, however, recovering the backhand slice that had deserted her in the opener.
In September 2018, Osaka won her first grand slam title, beating Serena Williams in a controversial US Open final that saw the American docked a game after calling the umpire a "thief".
Osaka backed up that triumph with a second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but she said now she's not thinking of a US title repeat.
The Japanese star, who could lose her world number one ranking if Australian Ashleigh Barty wins her semifinal on Saturday, was forced to quit in pain - American Sofia Kenin a 6-4, 1-6, 2-0 win.
Osaka said she "felt it wasn't safe" to continue against Kenin ahead of the U.S. Open starting Monday week.
Osaka captured her first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows past year with a stunning upset of Serena Williams.
Keys had the upper hand on the court, hitting 45 winners and 29 unforced errors, leaving Kuznetsova on a 15-10 ratio and fending off five out of seven break points, delivering three breaks to prevail and celebrate the biggest title in a career. Kuznetsova has reached a WTA final for the first time since July 30, 2018 when she was victorious in Washington.
Osaka dropped out of her semifinal match Friday with discomfort in her left knee that caused her worry.
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"I think it probably started with the serve for me", Barty said courtside after her defeat.
In the final, Madison took down Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 7-6 in an hour and 44 minutes, taking six points more than the Russian and coming for a 5-3 deficit in both sets to cross the finish line in straight sets and return into the top-10 for the first time in 15 months.
"If there is a 1% chance of me not playing it, that's what's concerning me". "I definitely think I played some of my best tennis consistently this week".
She needs some work on those first sets, though.
"If there is a 1 percent chance of me not playing it, that's what's concerning me".
"Well, sometimes in life it's like this", Kuznetsova said. "Every day I'm kind of waking up, hoping that everything still feels like it's in one piece and it feels really good". On a hot, humid afternoon, she got treatment for tightness in her upper right leg after the second set and twice during the final one. It was his third straight final, but the first time he'd won.
Seven-time champion Roger Federer was upset Thursday, leaving Djokovic as the only high seed left in the bracket.