Contreras Gomez ousts Kenin in Tokyo; Osaka advance after Saville injury

Mexico qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez defeated 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the first round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open. The win was Contreras Gomez’s first career win in one Hologic WTA Tour peloton.

Contreras Gomez, number 131, will face Veronika Kudermetova, number 4, in the next round.

In the night session, defending champion Naomi Osaka advanced after just one game. The home favorite was leading 1-0, 30-30 when Daria Saville injured her knee on a forehand jump. The Australian collapsed in pain and was unable to continue after treatment.

Afterwards, Osaka sent well wishes to Saville in a video message.

“I just wanted to wish you the best,” she said. “I just want to let you know that you are one of the funniest people on tour and I still remember all the nice things you said to me at the French [Open] this year. I want you to know that I wish you the best. I hope it’s not a serious injury at all and you get back on your feet because I know you’re good at it.”

Next, Osaka meets No. 5 Beatriz Haddad Maia who defeated 21-year-old Joker Yuki Naito 6-4, 6-2 in 1 hour and 44 minutes. Japan’s Naito fought hard in her second WTA peloton match but despite some brilliance at the net, the world No. 210 couldn’t match Haddad Maia’s consistency.

Highlights: Haddad Maia d. Naito

Despite her position as a qualifier, Contreras Gomez was the higher-ranked player in their opening game in Tokyo. Kenin, who hit a career-high No. 4 in 2020, has seen her ranking slip to No. 315 as she worked her way back from injury.

After saving a set point late in the first set tiebreak, Contreras Gomez dominated the second set and extended a 5-1 lead. Kenin fought valiantly to bring the set back to serve, but Contreras Gomez broke the American one last time to seal the win at 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Contreras Gomez, 24, made her tour debut at Roland Garros in the spring. After qualifying for her first Slam peloton, the three-time All-American from Vanderbilt defeated Panna Udvardy to earn her first tour-level win. While continuing to qualify successfully at the Slams, Contreras Gomez only secured a spot in the main draw of a WTA tournament in Tokyo.

From robots to novels, Fernanda Contreras Gomez’s unorthodox path to the WTA

Karolina Pliskova, No. 6, and Zhang Shuai, No. 28 each took just 57 minutes to advance to the second round. Pliskova defeated Bulgarian qualifier Isabella Shinikova 6-2, 6-1 and meets Petra Martic.

Zhang edged out Japanese wild card Mai Hontama 6-0, 6-3. She meets Caroline Garcia, number 2.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.