Some of the top women’s players will be in action at the WTA Toray Pan Pacific 2019 on Wednesday, September 18 as the action moves to the second round of the competition. Get all the information on the Naomi Osaka v Viktoriya Tomova & Angelique Kerber v Nicole Gibbs tips and predictions with their previews below.Get the best odds for WTA Toray Pan Pacific Open 2019 with 888Sport here.
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Naomi Osaka v Viktoriya Tomova Preview
Another new coach, failure to come close to defending her title at the US Open and a fall to number four in the rankings means Naomi Osaka will be hoping for a turnaround here. Since winning the Australian Open in January, Osaka’s struggles have been well-chronicled, what with just one semi-final under her belt in the period since then. And even that came at Stuttgart where she had a first round bye.
Osaka had a bye here as well, and would like to get down to the business of winning matches again when she takes on an opponent who needed a couple of three-setters to qualify for the tournament. Ranked 181st in the world, not too many would have expected her to do much more than that but she then defeated Alize Cornet in her opener to create an upset of sorts.
It would be a different proposition against Osaka though, and despite the Japanese player’s obvious issues, her defeats have usually been to players in the top 25 or so. An easy win can be expected for Osaka here.
Tip: Games Handicap Naomi Osaka -6.5: 1/1 (Unibet)
Angelique Kerber v Nicole Gibbs Preview
Angelique Kerber has never played Nicole Gibbs before this but her recent woes are hardly related to her opponents. For a multiple Grand Slam winner and a former world number one to go six matches with just one win is quite a surprise, especially if two of those are early defeats at Grand Slam tennis.
Lauren Davis overcame a first set loss to defeat her at Wimbledon and then she went down in another three-setter to Kristina Mladenovic in the first round at the US Open. Looking to make a comeback with an appearance at the Zhengzhou Open, Kerber was sent packing in the first round there by Alison Riske.
So the big question now is if she can turn things around and start winning matches consistently, something she hasn’t done in a long time. She will be up against a 137th-ranked Gibbs, who incidentally defeated Kerber’s last week vanquisher Riske in straight sets in round one here. This was after she made the main draw with two straight-set wins in the qualifier.
Gibbs has been playing and winning matches at the lower ITF circuit and in the qualifiers, but hasn’t done too well in the main draws of the WTA tournaments. Kerber could have an opening here to carve out a confidence and relief-inducing win.
Tip: Kerber to win: 5/12 (Unibet)
Madison Keys v Zarina Diyas Preview
This will the second meeting between Madison Keys and Zarina Diyas with the first one having gone in favour of the American world number 16 in 2016. Diyas, who is ranked 85th in the world at the moment, is coming off a 6-0, 6-3 win over Monica Puig, while Keys, seeded fifth, crushed Daria Kasatkina in straight sets as well.
Keys had risen to seventh in the world at one stage, early in 2017, but a drop in form in 2018 has pulled her ranking down a tad. She faced a season low of 20th last season but came back well this year with two title wins and decent showings at three of the four Grand Slams.
A fourth round loss to Elina Svitolina at the US Open would have hurt but she was facing a top player at the top of her game and might have been on expected lines. What’s also on expected lines is for her to ram past Diyas, who has 6-10 win-loss record on hard court surfaces.
Tip: Keys to in in straight sets: 7/10 (Unibet)
Elise Mertens v Su-Wei Hsieh Preview
A match between two similarly-ranked players, Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh can be expected to go the distance. Mertens, ranked 24th in the world, is coming off a 6-3, 6-1 win over Whitney Osuigwe but more vitally her form at the US Open should give her a huge boost in this competition too. She was a quarter-finalist at the year’s final Grand Slam and only lost to the eventual winner Bianca Andreescu after winning a set.
Hsieh has had her own fight but a comeback from behind win over Garbine Muguruza in the first round here should hold her in a good stead. And while Mertens should still have the edge, expecting Hsieh to push her opponent to three sets in this one.
Tip: Three sets in the match: 8/5 (Unibet)