No.4 seed Maria Sakkari, No.5 seed Caroline Garcia and No.6 seed Daria Kasatkina all kept their hopes of qualifying for the WTA Finals Cancun alive with straight-set, second-round wins at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Guadalajara champion Sakkari defeated Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-1 in 65 minutes, bringing down the curtain on the 32-year-old Japanese player's career. Sakkari slammed 25 winners and did not face a break point in extending her winning streak to six, while Doi had her share of highlights in the final professional match of her career, including a fine lob in the final game.
Afterward, Sakkari paid tribute to Doi.
"I don't want to talk about me today," the Greek player said in the on-court interview. "It was an honor to play against Misaki in her last ever professional match. You deserve to enjoy life, enjoy yourself, have some fun. We know how tough the tennis life is. So take some time, and I'm sure you'll find a way to find something special again in your life. You had an amazing career, so congrats."
Sakkari will next face Garcia, who needed 1 hour and 31 minutes to get past Anhelina Kalinina 6-4, 6-3.
Having received a performance bye after reaching the semifinals in Guadalajara last week, Garcia showed little sign of fatigue from her cross-continental journey. The Frenchwoman, who currently sits at No.19 in the Race to the Finals, fired 29 winners, including 10 aces, and dropped just seven points behind her first serve.
The decisive moment of the match came midway through the first set. Garcia had made a lightning-quick start to jump out to a 3-0 lead, but Kalinina had pegged her back to 3-3 and held triple break point to gain the advantage for the first time. But Garcia found her best serves when she needed them to wriggle out of that game, and from then on was an efficient front-runner.
Garcia pounced with aggressive returning to break Kalinina at the end of the first set. The second was decided by one break in the penultimate game after Kalinina found the net with an attempted drop shot. Garcia served out with panache, concluding a love hold with back-to-back aces.
Kasatkina, who is currently No.15 in the Race, had to hold off a late charge by No.220-ranked qualifier Papamichail to advance 6-4, 6-4 in exactly two hours. In a contest characterized by long, grinding baseline exchanges, Kasatkina saw a 4-1 double-break lead in the second set chipped away as Papamichail leveled at 4-4. But the former Roland Garros semifinalist steadied herself to take the last two games, setting up a quarterfinal against No.2 seed Jessica Pegula.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a two-time runner-up in Tokyo in 2017 and 2019, also booked her place in the last eight with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 win over Linda Noskova in 2 hours and 10 minutes.