2023 Japan Open Tokyo WTA Draw With Swiatek, Pegula, Rybakina & more

2023 Japan Open Tokyo WTA Draw With Swiatek, Pegula, Rybakina & more

by Nurein Ahmed

The 2023 Japan Open will run from September 25th to October 1st, and the draw for the penultimate WTA 500 event has been released.

As many as 28 players in the main draw will vie to lift the prestigious title in Japan's capital city Tokyo, and attain 470 potentially valuable ranking points. The fans will be delighted at the star power that will be in town, with five of the world's Top 10 players making the trip.

Iga Swiatek leads the top half of the draw and the tournament. She has a bye in the first round and will play her first match against home player Nao Hibino or a qualifier. She is slated to face third seed Elena Rybakina in the semifinal.

But there are no guarantees the big-serving Kazakhstani will get that far. Rybakina has a tricky opener against Czech teenager Linda Noskova and could face World No. 21 Donna Vekic as early as the second round. Rybakina's projected quarterfinal opponent is seventh-seed Liudmila Samsonova.

The Russian power hitter opens up against wily German veteran Tatjana Maria. If she comes through unscathed, Samsonova will set up an all-Russian second-round meeting against either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Anna Kalinskaya, the latter entering this event as a wild card.

The bottom half of the draw is filled with intrigue and unpredictability. American Jessica Pegula missed her title defense in Guadalajara, but she is not in danger of missing out on the WTA Finals. Pegula is less than 400 points away from the cut-off entry.

The second seed has a bye in the opening round and will start her Tokyo adventure against Spanish clay courter Cristina Bucsa or a qualifier. Sixth seed Daria Kasatkina is in Pegula's section of the draw and could meet her in the last eight stage.

However, Kasatkina will need to take down the talented Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in her opening match, arguably her toughest bout before the quarterfinal since she is slated to play a qualifier in the second round. Also to note, the WTA is trialing performance byes in Tokyo.

Those will go to Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia, seeded fourth and fifth respectively. Since both players took part in the Guadalajara Open this week and reached at least the semifinal stage (Sakkari made it to the final), it will give both players ample time to travel, recuperate and play in Tokyo.

"Tokyo is trialing performance byes. Two were allocated to Guadalajara semifinalists Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari, after their seeded positions were drawn."

WTA Insider statement on performance byes

Garcia will play one of Ashlyn Krueger or Anhelina Kalinina in the second round, while Sakkari will square off against one of Petra Martic or a qualifier at the same stage. If both of them navigate past their second-round matches, they will clash in the quarterfinal.

2023 Japan Open Tokyo WTA Draw:

1. Iga Swiatek (1)
2. BYE
3. Qualifier
4. Nao Hibino
5. Kayla Day
6. Moyuka Uchijima
7. Qualifier
8. Veronika Kudermetova (8)
9. Elena Rybakina (3)
10. Linda Noskova
11. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
12. Donna Vekic
13. Anna Kalinskaya
14. Ekaterina Alexnadrova
15. Tatjana Maria
16. Liudmila Samsonova (7)
17. Caroline Garcia (5)
18. Performance BYE
19. Ashlyn Krueger
20. Anhelina Kalinina
21. Petra Martic
22. Qualifier
23. Performance BYE
24. Maria Sakkari (4)
25. Daria Kasatkina (6)
26. Marta Kostyuk
27. Qualifier
28. Qualifier
29. Cristina Bucsa
30. Qualifier
31. BYE
32. Jessica Pegula (2)


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