TOKYO, Japan - The rain was falling but for a lucky few the center court roof was calling, and the opening round of the Premier-level Toray Pan Pacific Open got underway Sunday at the Ariake Tennis Forest Park in Tokyo.
The two seeds in action were both pressed but won. Playing for the first time since her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open, No.14 seed Roberta Vinci let go of a 4-1 second set lead and a 3-0 third set lead and eventually beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 64 46 75; No.12 seed Dominika Cibulkova originally led 63 41 but had let that lead go, having to fight off a set point serving at 4-5 in the second set to beat Anabel Medina Garrigues, 63 76(3).
Other Day 1 winners were Jelena Jankovic, Petra Martic and Japanese No.1 Ayumi Morita. Martic had the most dramatic win of the day, coming alive from 60 10 down to beat former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic, 06 64 63.
All matches on the outside courts were cancelled and pushed to Monday.
Elsewhere, the WTA's top stars - including Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska, Petra Kvitova and Sam Stosur - were hitting the press room for the All-Access Hour, answering a wide range of questions from the media.
Azarenka was asked about what separates Serena Williams from the rest.
"Obviously she's different from everyone else because I haven't been beating her, and I've beaten everybody else before. I feel like every time we've played she's at her best, as I was this year most of the time too. But I try not to think too much about what I could have done - I accept what I've achieved so far and I just want to keep getting myself to those opportunities. That's my main concern."
Radwanska was asked about the recent rise of her younger sister, Urszula.
"Well she has been playing some great tennis the last few weeks, so she's playing more matches and getting more experience. I was very happy for her that she reached the Top 40 last week - it was great. It's great we can play some tournaments together now, like here, where she's in the main draw."
Kvitova was asked about returning to the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
"I'm so happy I can come back and play this tournament again. I really like it here - the Japanese fans are very nice, and I really like sushi, too! I was in the semifinals last year and I'll try my best to do well again this year."
Stosur talked about returning to Tokyo and her potential first opponents.
"I'm looking forward to getting the tournament started. I really enjoy being here - the food and the culture are really nice. Everyone's really strong here, but this is what you play for - there's only a few more weeks left in the season.
"Either way my first match is going to be tough - they have two different styles, Francesca plays with more spin and we have a bit of a history against each other - Slava has had a very good year this year, coming out of injury and doing what she's done. So either way it will be tough but I'm excited to play again."