22-year-old qualifier Miyu Kato continued her great run in Tokyo, beating the 4th seed Krystina Pliskova 7-5 6-3 in 80 minutes, for the place in the quarter-final. Kato made the difference with her second serve and she played against 5 break points, losing serve 3 times.
Pliskova couldn't gain the advantage with her first serve and she struggled every time she would miss it, winning just 9 out of 25 points on her second serve. She had to play against 12 break points and she could save only 7, which wasn't enough for a more positive result.
Players traded 4 breaks in the first 7 games and Kato saved another break point in game 11. The following game was the longest of the match, Pliskova wasted 3 game points and she lost her serve in the end, as Miyu converted her 4th break point for a 7-5.
With the momentum on her side, Japanese raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set before Krystina saved a match point in game 6, avoiding the bagel. She broke at 15 in game 7 and cut the deficit to 5-3 with a good hold but that was all she could do, with Kato finishing the job on own serve in game 9.
The 3rd seed Elise Mertens defeated Magda Linette 6-1 7-5 in an hour and 20 minutes to join Kato in the last 8. Belgian kept her serve safe, playing against 4 break points and suffering 2 breaks, and she was all over Linette on the return, breaking Pole 5 times from 8 chances.
It was all about Mertens in the first set, she scored breaks in games 2 and 4 to grab the opener by 6-1. Linette failed to find the right rhythm earlier in the second set as well, losing serve at love in the opening game and trailing 3-1.
She saved a break point in game 5 and that gave her some confidence, as she broke back in game 6 to level the score at 3-3. Mertens broke again in game 9, serving for the win in the following game, and she failed to bring the match home despite having a match point.
Still, that break was all we saw from Magda, who lost the last 8 points of the match to end on the losing side. The top seed Kristina Mladenovic is still struggling to find her form after some good results until June, losing her 6th match in a row against the 20-year-old Croatian qualifier Jana Fett, by 6-4 6-3.
Both players battled to find the first serve and Fett was more effective, playing well o the second serve and getting broken 3 times. On the other hand, she won more than 50% of the return points (10 double faults from Mladenovic), breaking Mladenovic 5 times from 12 chances to earn straight sets triumph.
It was a slow start from both players, with 4 breaks in the opening 7 games, and Fett scored her third break in game 10, after a double fault from Kristina. Croat continued her charge in the second set as well, racing into a 5-0 lead before Mladenovic pulled one break back in game 7 to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
Fett served at love in game 9 to clinch the win, one of the best of her career considering the ranking of her rival. In the all-Japanese affair, Kurumi Nara took down the 6th seed Naomi Osaka by 6-3 6-0 in just 69 minutes. Osaka was just not in the match, serving at miserable 38% and losing 62% of the points in her games, getting broken 6 times from 9 chances she gave to Nara.
Kurumi lost just 10 points on serve, she did lose her service game once but that couldn't change anything, as she stormed towards the finish line and the place in the second round. The first 4 games set the tone for the rest of the match, Nara won 16 out of the 19 points to settle into a nice lead, and she clinched the set by 6-3, with another break.
The second set was a complete disaster for world number 46, she won just 6 points to drop every game and leave the tournament in the worst possible manner, hoping for a much better performance in the weeks to come. Wednesday's results: