The Pan Pacific Open is one of two women’s events taking place this week and the Tokyo tournament sees former world number one Iga Swiatek back on court for the first time since the US Open.

The Pole was beaten in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows and was duly replaced atop the world rankings by Aryna Sabalenka – the losing finalist at the last of the Grand Slams this year.

Swiatek is the 5/2 favourite to win in Tokyo, but a better bet might be Elena Rybakina, who comes into the week with a little chip on her shoulder.

Selections

Swiatek returns after New York setback

Former world number one Swiatek and Jessica Pegula are among the higher-ranked players in attendance and they are first second in the outright betting. Both are coming back on court for the first time since the US Open.

Swiatek suffered a surprise fourth-round exit against Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, with the Pole managing to win a disappointing 56 per cent of points from her first serve as she was broken seven times in that three-set loss.

She lost the world number one ranking to Sabalenka and it will be interesting to see where the Pole is at mentally at this stage of the season, off the back of a year in which she won a third French Open title but didn’t get past the quarters in any of the other three Slams.

Pegula will also be contesting her first event since losing in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows to Madison Keys.

Pan Pacific Open 2023 Betting Tips

  • Elena Rybakina @ 11/2 
  • Veronika Kudermetova @ 20/1

Elena Rybakina @ 11/2 

2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina could be one to watch this week as she comes into the event riled at not having been given a first-round bye.

No.1 and No.2 seeds Swiatek and Pegula are straight into round two, as are Guadalajara semi-finalists Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari, the No.5 and No.4 seeds, by virtue of their efforts at the WTA 1000 event in Mexico where they reached the last four.

Rybakina, seeded third this week, took exception to being the meat in that sandwich, going on social media to suggest the WTA had changed the rules at the last minute in regards to which players received a bye.

The world number five will be up against the 41st-ranked Linda Noskova in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open on Monday and, while it may have perturbed her to play an extra game, she should get past the hurdle.

Their only previous meeting came at the 2023 French Open where Rybakina won in straight sets.

With the extra will to win and the motivation after being snubbed, the 24-year-old should have a point to prove this week as she goes in pursuit of the sixth title of her career.

Her powerful ground strokes are tailor-made for the hard courts, as she showed in reaching the Australian Open decider this year.

Like the market leaders, she’s seeing her first action since New York and once she gets over the disappointment having to face Czech teenager Noskova in round one, she can go deep into the event in Tokyo.

Veronika Kudermetova @ 20/1

Veronika Kudermetova perhaps hasn’t kicked on as might have been expected after gaining her breakthrough win at the Charleston Open in 2021. She won six matches on route to that title and landed a career-high 33 wins in that calendar year.

Her peak ranking so far came at 9th in October and she’s coming into this week at 19th in the latest standings.

Her best run this season came in June when she was beaten in the final of the Libema Open in the Netherlands by Ekaterina Alexandrova on grass, while she was a quarter-finalist in Berlin soon after.

She exited the US Open at the first-round stage and was also knocked out in her first match at the San Diego Open since.

She was, though, a semi-finalist in this event last year, losing a cracking battle with Qinwen Zheng of China, and may go well again.

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