Tokyo Pan Pacific Open 2017 Main Draw Preview

The US hard court swing is officially in the books with the likes of Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza and Elina Svitolina making their marks. The Asian derby has started in modest with an International tournament in Tokyo this week, but next week’s Pan Pacific Open (also in Tokyo) will feature a couple of top names who will be trying to end their seasons on a high. Will there be more surprises during the Asian swing?

Main Draw

Top seeds’ profiles

(1) Garbine Muguruza (No.1)

Photo by Jimmie48 Photography

Player overview: Garbine Muguruza will be entering in her first tournament as the World No.1 here in Tokyo. When Angelique Kerber became No.1, she fared badly – Karolina Pliskova did OK, then how about Muguruza? Since winning Wimbledon back in July, Muguruza managed the pressure well, making the quarterfinals in Toronto and winning Cincinnati. The Spaniard solidified herself as the favourite for the US Open with the Cincinnati victory, but fell quite disappointingly to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round. We shall see if she can keep up with the expectations and pressure in Tokyo…

Recent results: Toronto QF, Cincinnati champion, US Open 4R

Draw projections: Muguruza and the other top 4 seeds have a bye, so her Tokyo campaign will start in the second round against the struggling Monica Puig or a qualifier. Agnieszka Radwanska is her projected quarterfinal opponent.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 6-4 (2014 SF, 2015-2016 QF)

(2) Karolina Pliskova (No.4)

Photo by Jimmie48 Photography

Player overview: Karolina Pliskova isn’t coming to Tokyo as No.1 as she failed to defend her final points from last year at the US Open, courtesy of a quarterfinal loss to Coco Vandeweghe a couple of weeks back. Even though many have criticised her of being a slamless No.1, she had decent showings at the summit of the rankings, reaching back-to-back-to-back quarterfinals in Toronto, Cincinnati (semifinal) and the US Open. Pliskova has a real chance to regain the No.1 spot as she isn’t defending much till the WTA Finals and she’ll try to make some ground here in Tokyo.

Recent results: Toronto QF, Cincinnati SF, US Open QF

Draw projections: Pliskova plays a qualifier or New Haven champ Daria Gavrilova, before a possible meeting with the fading Angelique Kerber in the last 8.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 3-3 (2015 QF)

(3) Caroline Wozniacki (No.6)

Player overview: Caroline Wozniacki is coming off a disappointing US Open showing and some snide remarks about Maria Sharapova (not gonna talk about that), but you should never count Wozniacki out as she is the Tokyo queen, reaching the finals thrice and winning the title twice. Wozniacki is the defending champion, but has lost her six finals this season all in convincing fashion. Can she finally win one title by defending her crown here?

Recent results: Toronto F, Cincinnati QF, US Open 2R

Draw projections: The Dane plays Risa Ozaki or Shelby Rogers first, then Dominika Cibulkova if the latter does progress to the quarterfinal stage.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 22-7 (2011, 2016 Champion, 2014 F)

(4) Johanna Konta (No.7)

Player overview: Johanna Konta had one of the best hard court win-loss records this season and came into this US hard court swing as one to look out for. However, she failed to impress this month, falling at the first hurdle in Toronto and the US Open, and only managed to gain two wins throughout this swing which was at Cincinnati. Johanna will look to find back her form in Tokyo and gain more points during this Asian swing as she is close to securing her spot in the WTA Finals but is still at a dangerous position, lingering at No.7.

Recent results: Toronto 1R, Cincinnati QF, US Open 1R

Draw projections: Konta has a tough opener, either Barbora Strycova or Magdalena Rybarikova. She is seeded to play Kristina Mladenovic but the Frenchwoman has struggled throughout the year (more below).

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: First appearance

(5) Dominika Cibulkova (No.9)

Image result for dominika cibulkova tokyo

Player overview: Dominika Cibulkova’s mediocre form in 2017 seemed to be reversing in New Haven where she reached the final, beating three difficult opponents in Alize Cornet, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Elise Mertens, but fell disappointingly to Daria Gavrilova. The disappointing ways continued for Cibulkova at the US Open where she lost in the second round in agonisingly close fashion to eventual champion Sloane Stephens. She really needs to step it up as she has tons of points to defend during the Asian swing.

Recent results: Cincinnati 3R, New Haven F, US Open 2R

Draw projections: Cibulkova has a really difficult start in Carla Suarez Navarro. The winner will play Katerina Siniakova or a qualifier then likely Wozniacki in the quarters.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 12-8 (2015 SF)

(6) Agnieszka Radwanska (No.11)

Player overview: Agnieszka Radwanska is back in her favourite stretch of the season in Asia where she has historically done well. She is coming off the US Open with a disheartening loss to Coco Vandeweghe in a tight three-setter. However, she seems to be rounding back into form and if you’re an Aga fan read the Twitter thread I linked below. Aga is now fully fit and I’m feeling really optimistic about the remaining part of the season!

Recent results: Cincinnati 1R, New Haven SF, US Open 3R

Draw projections: Radwanska plays a qualifier in round 1 then Yulia Putintseva (who she played in NYC) or Kurumi Nara. Top seed Muguruza looms in the last 8 stage.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 27-6 (2011, 2016 Champion, 2012 F)

(7) Angelique Kerber (No.13)

Image result for angelique kerber tokyo

Photo by Jimmie48 Photography

Player overview: Oh Angie… Angelique Kerber’s horrid season just keeps on continuing and she can’t catch a break at all. Kerber hoped to recover from the dire first part of the season during the US hard court swing, but instead it went with Murphy’s Law and she only managed to win one match (over Donna Vekic) during her three US tournaments. There’s a possibility it could go from worse to even worse in Tokyo next week as her draw is just plain horrid…

Recent results: Toronto 3R, Cincinnati 2R, US Open 1R

Draw projections: Murphy’s Law came into work again here as Kerber got Naomi Osaka in round 1 who just beat her two weeks ago at the same stage at the US Open. If she miraculously does get past that, it does not get any better as she could face Caroline Garcia or Daria Kasatkina next. Not to mention Pliskova waiting in the quarters…

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 13-6 (2013 F, 2012, 2014 SF)

(8) Kristina Mladenovic (No.15)

Image result for kristina mladenovic tokyo

Photo by Jimmie48 Photography

Player overview: Just like Kerber, Kristina Mladenovic’s last four months has been the worst it could get and she seems like a totally different Mladenovic in the first five months of 2017. She is now on a six-match losing streak and her last Top 50 win came back in Eastbourne. WTA Finals is actually still a possibility for Mladenovic as she is still at No.9 in the race, but she will need a complete miracle if her form is to return so quickly…

Recent results: New Haven 1R, US Open 1R, Tokyo [International] 1R

Draw projections: Mladenovic could face another first round loss as she plays the dangerous Wang Qiang. Looming in the second round is doubles partner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Catherine Bellis.

Tokyo (Premier) win-loss record: 0-2 (2015 1R)

Temporary (and updated) Final Prediction: Caroline Wozniacki d. Catherine Bellis

Please follow my Tokyo predictions here and my Twitter account here 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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