WTA Major Tournament #8: Tokyo, Japan

Creative Commons Licensephoto credit:Spicks & Specks

The next major tournament on the Women’s Pro Tour is the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan. This event is celebrating the 25th consecutive year on the WTA Tour. The Toray PPO is the final Premier FIVE event held in 2009 and is one of the most prestigious events each year.

2 million US dollars is up for grabs. The event is held from Friday September 25 through to the final on Saturday October 3. The main draw begins on Sunday September 27.

This year 9 of the top 10 women are playing. Not surprisingly Serena Williams is shying away, citing an injury as her reason to withdraw. Serena is possibly trying to hide a little longer from the limelight after the chaos at the US Open.

Last year Dinara Safina won the Tokyo by defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final 6-1 6-3. Kuznetsova beat Katarina Srebotnik whilst Safina defeated Nadia Petrova in the 2008 semi-finals. The quarter finalists were Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic, Agnieszka Radwanska and Kaia Kanepi from Estonia.

Pictured above executing a great forehand volley at last years Japan Open is 38 year old Kimiko Date Krumm. The 1.63m is naturally a left hander but learned to play right handed to follow the Japanese custom.

Kimiko will turn 39 on Monday 28 September and will be hoping to celebrate with a great showing in front of her home crowd. Kimiko’s comeback has captured the imagination of her nation so she will receive great support.

Kimiko is currently ranked No.155 after commencing her comeback this time last year in Japan. Her career high ranking is No.4 and she has made the singles semi-finals of the Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the French Open.

The Top 8 seeds have a BYE in the 1st round, with ONLY the top 16 ranked players being seeded. There were 44 direct acceptances, 3 Wild Cards awarded and 9 spots in the draw allocated to Qualifiers.

The wild cards were awarded to 3 Japanese players: Ayumi Morita, Ai Sugiyama and Date Krumm. Kimiko is 1 of 4 players in this year’s event that have won the title before (in 1995). The other 3 are Safina in 2008, Dementieva in 2006 and Maria Sharapova in 2005.

Sugiyama turned 34 this year and is retiring after playing this event in her home country. The 1.63m former World No.1 doubles player achieved a career high ranking in singles of No.8 and twice made it to the quarter finals in singles at Grand Slam events.

Sugiyama holds the record for playing the most consecutive Grand Slam tournaments played by any male or female player in the history of the game with 62, which is a span of 15.5 years.

The seeding and draw for the top 16 players, if they all win through to the round of 16 are:

  • (1) Dinara Safina versus (16) Virginie Razzano
  • (12) Samantha Stosur v. (6) Vera Zvonareva
  • (4) Caroline Wozniacki v. (13) Nadia Petrova
  • (11) Agnieszka Radwanska v. (5) Svetlana Kuznetsova

This completes the head-to-head play-offs in the top half of the draw. In the bottom half of the draw, the players seeded to meet are:

  • (8) Victoria Azarenka v. (10) Ana Ivanovic
  • (15) Li Na v. (3) Elena Dementieva
  • (7) Jelena Jankovic v. (9) Flavia Pennetta
  • (14) Marion Bartoli v. (2) Venus Williams

Kimiko had drawn Aleksandra Wozniak in the 1st round and has the chance to save us from a real mouthful, a Wozniacki versus Wozniak 2nd round match up! Sugiyama drew No.13 seed Petrova and Morita plays Alisa Kleybanova in the 1st round.

Today’s POST is dedicated to Serena Williams. Serena was born on this day in 1981. The American has won 11 Grand Slam singles titles: 4 Australian Open titles (2003, 2005, 2007 & 2009), 3 Wimbledon Championships (2002-’03 & 2009), 3 US Open crowns (1999, 2002 & 2008) and the French Open in 2002. She first achieved her highest career ranking of No.1 on 8 July 2002.

© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2009

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