Tokyo Open: Iga Swiatek endures a stiff test against Mai Hontama to move into last-8

Jessica Pegula opened her mark in the Japanese capital with a victory as well

by Abbey Johnson
Tokyo Open: Iga Swiatek endures a stiff test against Mai Hontama to move into last-8
© Elsa/ Getty Images

Iga Swiatek didn’t have it easy against local hope Mai Hontama in their second-round match at the Tokyo Open on Wednesday. The top seed, who’s currently ranked 2nd in the world, eventually prevailed 6-4, 7-5 after two hours and two minutes.

The start of the match was horrendous for Swiatek. The Pole quickly went two breaks down to the qualifier allowing the latter to gain a 4-1 lead over her. However, Swiatek did get past her sluggish start from that game onwards and turned the set around.

She won the next five games in a row to capture the set and go up in the match. Despite the shift in momentum in the latter part of the first set, Swiatek fell behind a break in the opening game of the second set. She retrieved the break back immediately and then broke Hontama twice more in the set, gaining the chance to serve for the match in the seventh game.

Hontama then won four straight games to bring the set to parity at five-all. However, Hontama’s serve came under pressure in the 12th game and Swiatek had a couple of match points. In the end, the Japanese wasn’t able to save them, and handed her opponent passage into the quarter-finals.

Swiatek didn’t have a great day when it came to winning both first and second-serve points. She won 22 of 42 points played on her first serve to her opponent winning 26 of 59. She won exactly 50% of her second-serve points to Hontama’s slightly better, 50%.

Swiatek created 17 break point chances on Hontama’s serve and converted seven of these. On the nine break points she faced; the 22-year-old saved four.

Tokyo Open: Ekaterina Alexandrova bests Liudmila Samsonova

Looking to get to the semi-finals, Swiatek will now play Veronika Kudermetova.

The eighth seed won against Kayla Day, 6-3, 6-3 after nearly 90 minutes. Meanwhile, second seed Jessica Pegula had a smoother outing against Cristina Bucsa. The fourth-ranked American clinched a 6-1, 6-2 win in a match that went past an hour by merely two minutes.

Pegula came up with 11 winners to the Spaniard’s 13. She also had 13 unforced errors to the latter’s 29. The last second-round match at the Tokyo Open on Wednesday was played between Ekaterina Alexandrova and Liudmila Samsonova. Alexandrova ousted Samsonova, who won the title here in 2022, 6-4, 6-2 after 76 minutes of play.

Iga Swiatek Mai Hontama Jessica Pegula