The Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan celebrated its 25th consecutive year on the WTA Tour with a very strong field and a very popular winner, although all of the local players went out in the 1st round.
In fact all 4 wild cards at the Japan Open were beaten in their 1st match. Japanese players Ayumi Morita lost to Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova 1-6 4-6, Ai Sugiyama retired against another Russian No.13 seed Nadia Petrova whilst trailing 0-6 1-2. Kimiko Date Krumm served for a straight sets win yet Canadian Aleksandra Wozniack fought back to win 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4. Even the No.1 seed and wild card Dinara Safina was beaten by 18 year old Chang Kai-Chen of Taipei.
Only 5 of the top ranked players won through to the last 16 in Tokyo. After which only 1 seed progressed to the top half of the draws quarter finals. Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic beaten by Maria Sharapova 6-4 7-5 whilst Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia lost to No.11 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-3 6-1.
The bottom half of the draw saw (15) Li Na of China defeat (8) Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) in 2 hours and 59 minutes on Chinese National Day October 1st. No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia broke a 4 match winning streak by Marion Bartoli of France in their head-to-head match ups to post a 6-1 3-0 win when Bartoli retired in the final quarter final match. The losing quarter finalists won 40,000 US dollars each and earned 200 WTA ranking points a piece.
In the semi-finals Jankovic continued her fantastic display of court movement and consistency by beating Li Na 6-4 6-3. The unseeded Sharapova was forced to play very well before she earned a 6-3 2-6 6-4 win to progress to the final. Radwanska and Li Na both won 87,500 US dollars in prize money and collected 350 WTA ranking points each.
Sharapova’s opponent Agnieszka Radwanska was playing her best tennis and achieved her 1st semi-final of 2009. If she can maintain this level she will press forward and make a deeper impression inside the world’s Top 10 for the first time.
The women’s singles final promised to be a great battle but Jankovic retired with a right wrist injury when she trailed 2-5 in the 1st set. As well as her lost opportunity in Japan Jankovic’s chances to defend her China Open title this week also plummeted. Sharapova has now won her 2nd title at this event having won here in 2005 as well.
Jankovic won 175,000 US dollars as the runner-up and picked up 550 WTA ranking points for convincingly winning through all of her earlier matches. Sharapova was rewarded as the champion with 350,000 US dollars in prize money and more importantly for her, 800 WTA ranking points.
Pictured above is Sharapova displaying brilliant preparation for her double handed backhand. The former World No.1 is back and will rise to No.15 as she continues her comeback from injury.
For more information on this tournament see an earlier post on this tennis website by clicking here -> WTA Major Tournament #8: Tokyo, Japan.
Today’s POST is dedicated to Ann Jones. Jones was born on 7 October in 1938. The Brit won 3 Grand Slam singles titles: 2 French Open titles in 1961 & 1966 and 1 Wimbledon Championship in 1969. She won 113 singles titles in her career.
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