Tokyo QF #1: (1) Caroline Wozniacki vs (5) Angelique Kerber
A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo sees top seed and former champion Caroline Wozniacki take on former finalist Angelique Kerber. Wozniacki and Kerber have one of the most competitive rivalries on tour, this promises to be another epic clash between the pair. Both ladies give very little away, a long and physical match is to be expected. This looms as an important match for both ladies in their quest to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
After a disappointing North American summer, Caroline Wozniacki made a positive start to the Asian Swing on Wednesday. After receiving a bye through to the second round, the Dane recorded a comfortable 6-2 6-2 victory over Croatian qualifier Ana Konjuh. Wozniacki is currently 14th in the Race to Singapore, a victory in this match is hugely important for Caroline if she wants to keep her slim chances of qualifying for yet another WTA Finals campaign alive. Wozniacki’s recent record against top players has been poor, the Dane hasn’t won a match against a top 10 opponent since Stuttgart where she beat Simona Halep. Wozniacki will be desperate to turn that around in Tokyo.
Angelique Kerber raced through her opening round match in Tokyo, picking up an emphatic 6-2 6-2 victory over Daria Gavrilova, the German’s fourth victory over Gavrilova in 2015. Angie’s second round victory was a little less perfect, the German got off to a poor start but recovered strongly to record a 5-7 6-1 6-0 victory over American Madison Brengle. Kerber is currently ranked 8th in the race to Singapore, a couple more victories in Tokyo will really help her chances of qualifying for the season finale.
Angelique Kerber holds a 6-4 head-to-head record over the Dane. Kerber has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair including an epic 3-6 6-1 7-5 victory in the final at Stuttgart earlier this year in what was their most recent encounter. There is very little to separate these two on a hard court, whoever steps up their game and rises to the occasion will prevail. Kerber seems to be in better shape at the moment and has been much more successful against players ranked around her. I suspect Kerber will be too strong on this occasion, her powerful groundstrokes give her the edge in this match-up.