The draw is exceptionally strong for the WTA 500 event at the Tokyo Open. Grand Slam champions Iga Swiatek and Elena Rybakina are two of the top women in action. However, three quality players have withdrawn from the tournament in Tokyo. This article lists those who have elected not to play, and also names the three players who have replaced them in the draw. The WTA 250 event in Ningbo also takes place this week, and we at LWOT have an article reporting on the four players to withdraw from that tournament.
Three Players Withdraw From the Tokyo Open
Which Players Have Withdrawn?
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova has withdrawn from the Tokyo Open. The Czech has not played since her quarterfinal loss to Madison Keys at the US Open. There has been no indication of any injury problems for Vondrosuova. It may just be a case of wanting to take some extra time to recover mentally for the WTA 1000 in Beijing next week, after a stunning breakthrough season so far for the 24-year-old.
Karolina Pliskova is another Czech player to withdraw from the Tokyo Open. The 2016 US Open finalist featured last week at the Guadalajara Open, exiting in the round of 32. It has been a mostly difficult year for the former world #1, leading to her falling outside the world’s Top 30. She will hope the decision to delay the start of her Asian schedule pays dividends.
Belinda Bencic is the third woman not on the player list for the Tokyo Open. Eight-time WTA title winner Bencic withdrew from her match last week at the Guadalajara Open. It has not been announced what issue caused the 26-year-old to make that decision. However, it seems very likely that whatever that problem is has led to Bencic taking the decision to not play in Tokyo. Hopefully, it is just a precautionary move to ensure her fitness for the Beijing Open.
Who Replaces Those Three Players in the Draw?
Another Czech player replaces Vondrousova. The extremely talented 18-year-old Linda Noskova has entered the draw for the Tokyo Open. She is enjoying a breakthrough season, which has included two finals on the hard courts of Adelaide and Prague. Noskova is capable of causing any player problems when she finds her range. An example is when she came close to upsetting Ons Jabeur at this year’s US Open. However, Noskova has been given the daunting challenge of Elena Rybakina in the opening round.
Marta Kostyuk benefits from the withdrawal of Pliskova. The Ukrainian has already caused upsets this season. Examples of this include wins against Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia at Wimbledon and in Washington respectively. Kostyuk needs another upset to progress to the second round of the Tokyo Open. Daria Kasatkina is her opponent in the first round.
Finally, Bencic’s withdrawal handed a place in the main draw to Tatjana Maria. Last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist was solid last week at the Guangzhou Open, reaching the quarterfinal. The 36-year-old has had a mixed season, but did win her third career WTA title in Bogota back in April. Maria was drawn against seventh seed Liudmila Samsonova in the opening round.
Main Photo Credit: Cara Owsley – The Enquirer – USA TODAY NETWORK