Osaka to headline Toray Pan Pacific Open

Photo : www.wtatennis.com
www.wtatennis.com|16-Aug-2019 21:00

Two-time runner-up Naomi Osaka is back at the Premier event aiming to go one better but faces a tough field.

WTA World No.1 Naomi Osaka will return home to Japan to play the Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament in Osaka, which runs through September 16-22.

The two-time Grand Slam winner has been a regular participant in the tournament over the years when it was held in Tokyo and she will participate in it once again now that it has moved to its new venue.

Her first entry into the event arrived in 2013, when she was a qualifying wildcard and lost out in the first round to Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 6-3, 6-4. 

It was via a wildcard she first made the main draw two years later, but again she was unable to get a win on the board as Barbora Strycova outfoxed her, 7-5, 6-2.

Her big home breakthrough arrived in 2016, when after defeating Misaki Doi, her first victory in the tournament, she went on a streak to overcome Dominika Cibulkova, Aliaksandra Sasnovich and Elina Svitolina. In the final, Caroline Wozniacki proved too strong.

Osaka also reached the final of the event in 2018, where she was defeated, 6-4, 6-4 by Karolina Pliskova, who is the defending champion. The Czech, however, will not travel for this event.

Her main rivals for the title will be fellow Top 10 players Kiki Bertens and Sloane Stephens, while 10 of the Top 20 in the world will travel east for the event, including Angelique Kerber, who upset Osaka in the first round in 2017.

As a Premier event, there will be a main draw of 28 players, with the top four all receiving byes into the second round. Six players will earn their entry through qualifying while four wildcards will be selected.