Friday, March 1, 2024

Osaka advances after Saville retires injured in Pan Pacific Open


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TOKYO, Sep 20: Japan’s Naomi Osaka advanced to the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday after Daria Saville of Australian retired early in the first set with a knee injury.
Saville fell to the court, writhing in pain after delivering a forehand in her first service game at Tokyo’s Ariake Tennis Park. The incident took place after unseeded defending champion Osaka, ranked 48th in the world, held her serve in the opening game.
The former world No 1 and winner of four Grand Slam singles titles will take on fifth-seeded Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Yuki Naito of Japan 6-4, 6-2.
Meanwhile, Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez defeated 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6(7), 6-4 in the first round. The victory was Contreras Gomez’s first career win in a Hologic WTA Tour main draw match. Ranked No 131, Contreras Gomez will next face No 4 seed Veronika Kudermetova.
Despite her position as a qualifier, Contreras Gomez was the higher-ranked player in her Tokyo opener. Kenin, who reached a career-high No 4 in 2020, has seen her ranking slip to No 315 as she works her way back from injury.
After saving a set point late in the first-set tiebreak, Contreras Gomez dominated the second set to build a 5-1 lead. Kenin fought valiantly to put the set back on serve, but Contreras Gomez broke the American one last time to seal the win after 1 hour and 46 minutes.
Contreras Gomez, 24, made her tour-level debut at Roland Garros in May. After qualifying for her first Slam main draw, the three-time All-American from Vanderbilt beat Panna Udvardy to earn her first tour-level win. While she continued to successfully qualify at the Slams, it was not until Tokyo that Contreras Gomez earned a spot in the main draw of a WTA tournament.
No 6 seed Karolina Pliskova and No 28 Zhang Shuai needed just 57 minutes each to advance to the second round. Pliskova defeated Bulgarian qualifier Isabella Shinikova 6-2, 6-1 and will face Petra Martic.
Zhang ousted Japanese wildcard Mai Hontama 6-0, 6-3. She will face No 2 seed Caroline Garcia.
On Monday, Elise Mertens won the first three games before Typhoon Nanmadol forced the match to be halted. Mertens eventually beat Wang Qiang of China 6-0, 6-3. (Agencies)


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