No.1 seed Iga Swiatek survived a scare from qualifier Mai Hontama within the second spherical of the Toray Pan Pacific Open, coming from a double break down within the first set and a break down within the second to advance 6-4, 7-5 in 2 hours and a pair of minutes.
Swiatek trailed the house favourite 4-1 firstly of the match, and likewise needed to maintain off a late fightback by Hontama, who pegged the Pole again from 5-1 to 5-5 within the second set. Making her debut look in Japan, the World No.2 superior to her thirteenth quarterfinal of 2023 up to now. She has solely failed to succeed in that stage twice this season — on the Australian Open and US Open, at each of which she misplaced within the fourth spherical.
“Successful 5 video games in a row within the first set actually confirmed me that I may play my sport,” Swiatek stated afterwards. “It wasn’t simple, however I’m pleased that I problem-solved and simply received by the match.”
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No.148-ranked Hontama had solely confronted a High 10 opponent as soon as earlier than, a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Garbiñe Muguruza within the 2021 Chicago quarterfinals. However the Japanese 24-year-old was coming into the match in surging type, having reached her first WTA semifinal in Osaka two weeks in the past after which successful three matches in Tokyo with out dropping a set, and introduced Swiatek with a spirited problem all through.
Swiatek will subsequent face No.8 seed Veronika Kudermetova, who defeated Kayla Day 6-3, 6-3 in 1 hour and 26 minutes to succeed in her ninth quarterfinal of the yr up to now, and first since Berlin in June.
How the match was received: Hontama took full benefit of a sluggish begin by Swiatek, who struggled for management over her groundstrokes within the early levels and finally completed with 41 unforced errors to 21 winners. Terrific protection from the native participant enabled her to interrupt the previous World No.1 twice and leap out to a 4-1 lead.
It was Swiatek’s protection that secured her turnaround, although. A marvellous prolonged change firstly of the fifth sport, through which the four-time main champion got here up with a pinpoint lob, kickstarted a change in momentum that noticed her reel off 10 of the following 11 video games to guide 5-1 within the second set.
These numbers bely the problem Hontama nonetheless introduced all through this passage of play, although. Swiatek nonetheless needed to survive a number of multi-deuce tussles and a sequence of crowd-pleasing winners from Hontama, who briefly led by a break firstly of the second set.
The grit evinced by Hontama additionally meant that her late cost was unsurprising. Swiatek didn’t serve out the match at 5-1 due to a slew of low-cost errors, and a resurgent Hontama rattled off a sequence of winners to take the following 4 video games — even saving two match factors serving at 4-5.
Finally, although, Swiatek managed to regular herself simply sufficient to recover from the road. Within the latter levels of the second set, she had lapsed right into a extra passive method, permitting Hontama to go on the assault. However this paid off within the last sport as Hontama started going for an excessive amount of, sending a backhand into the web on Swiatek’s fourth match level.
- Swiatek survives spirited problem from Hontama in Tokyo
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