No.6 seed Daria Kasatkina survived a scare from Marta Kostyuk before advancing 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in 2 hours and 24 minutes to the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Playing for the first time since her US Open fourth-round loss to Aryna Sabalenka, Kasatkina needed to use the breadth of her tactical repertoire to turn the match around. The result levelled her head-to-head against Kostyuk at two wins apiece; this was the first edition of their rivalry to have gone to three sets.
Highlights: Papamichail d. Hosogi
Kasatkina will next play No.220-ranked Despina Papamichail after the Greek qualifier edged lucky loser Sakura Hosogi 7-6(3), 7-5 in 2 hours and 19 minutes. Home hope Hosogi was playing her first WTA main draw, and impressed with her all-court play, but Papamichail's solidity ultimately proved decisive.
How the match was won: Kostyuk raced out of the blocks, smothering Kasatkina with quickfire points and an aggressive strategy that saw her come forwards at every opportunity. Kasatkina was given few chances to find her rhythm, and was repeatedly let down by an errant backhand as she tallied 38 unforced errors to only 11 winners over the first two sets.
But, having played a clean first set in which she had conceded only eight points on serve, Kostyuk's consistency began to slip in a second set which saw nine service breaks in 10 games. The Ukrainian went up a break three times, but her own mounting error count meant that she was unable to consolidate. Down set point, a Kostyuk overhead bounced off the tape and into the tramlines, encapsulating a passage of play in which Kasatkina had refused to buckle.
Kasatkina did not truly find her groove until the deciding set, but once she did played some of her most spectacular tennis of the day. In her comfort zone of extended rallies, the 26-year-old came up with a series of brilliant passing shots, with a flick off a sidespun Kostyuk volley in the fourth game drawing gasps from the Tokyo crowd.
Kostyuk had her share of hot shots, too, including a finely angled backhand to end a long baseline exchange, but was again unable to maintain her leads. The 21-year-old led by a break twice, and as in the second set was immediately broken back both times. Another overhead error down break point saw Kasatkina level at 3-3, ultimately reeling off the last four games of the match.
Doi delivers victory in farewell event: This week marks the final tournament of former World No.30 Misaki Doi's professional career. The 32-year-old announced last month that she would bid farewell to the sport on home soil due to a persistent back injury.
Having successfully qualified, an inspired Doi rolled back the years to upset No.49-ranked Petra Martic 7-5, 6-2 in the first round. The result was her first tour-level win since July 2022, when she defeated Oksana Selekhmeteva in the first round of Hamburg, and her first Top 50 victory since besting Zheng Saisai in the first round of Doha 2021. Even more meaningfully, it was just Doi's second main-draw win in Tokyo, and first since defeating Varvara Lepchenko in the 2013 first round.
Highlights: Doi d. Martic
After finding her quick 4-1 lead pegged back to 5-5, Doi edged the first set thanks in large part to a successful challenge in the final game. A brilliant passing shot at full stretch had been called out, but turned out to have just grazed the line for a clean winner.
Having survived to fight another day, Doi will extend her career with a second-round tilt against No.4 seed and freshly-crowned Guadalajara champion Maria Sakkari.
Pavlyuchenkova, Noskova, Alexandrova advance: Other first-round winners on Day 2 included two-time finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who routed Donna Vekic 6-1, 6-1 in just 74 minutes; 19-year-old Linda Noskova, who saved one set point in the second set before coming through 6-2, 7-5 against Japanese lucky loser Himeno Sakatsume; and Ekaterina Alexandrova, who edged wild card Anna Kalinskaya 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-5 in 2 hours and 21 minutes.
Alexandrova will next play defending champion Liudmila Samsonova, while Noskova and Pavlyuchenkova will square off for a quarterfinal place.