Tokyo Open: Veronika Kudermetova bests Iga Swiatek to enter SF

The comeback road didn't look too arduous for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, after a long while

by Abbey Johnson
Tokyo Open: Veronika Kudermetova bests Iga Swiatek to enter SF
© Clive Brunskill/ Getty Images

Veronika Kudermetova toppled Iga Swiatek in their quarter-final at the Tokyo Open on Friday. Kudermetova pocketed a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 win for herself after almost two-and-a-half-hours. As had happened in her second-round match against Mai Hontama on Wednesday, Swiatek fell behind a double break against her eighth-seeded opponent on Friday, as well.

However, Kudermetova didn’t allow Swiatek back into the set and rode her initial momentum all the way to gaining a set’s lead in the match. Swiatek bounced back convincingly in the second set and Kudermetova never really got a chance to even try and find a foothold in the set.

The 22-year-old won eight of 10 second-serve points in the second and didn’t face any break point. She also made good of two of the three break point chances she had on Kudermetova’s serve to enforce a third set.

The decider once again swung Kudermetova’s way and this time, once again, she didn’t give any chances to Swiatek to make a fightback. The world no. 19 didn’t face any break points in the set and needed just one break point to move into the semi-final.

Across the match, neither player had much winners going for them although both hit more than twice as many unforced errors. Still, Swiatek had seven more winners than Kudermetova’s 11 and 15 more unforced errors than the latter’s 35.

Tokyo Open: Jessica Pegula's impeccable against Daria Kasatkina

Meanwhile, Kudermetova will play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the final. Pavlyuchenkova, who’d been laid out of action for most parts of 2022 with an injury to her knee, made it to the semi-finals of a tournament for the first time since 2021.

Back then, Pavlyuchenkova had made it to the Roland Garros semi-final, before eventually reaching the final there (losing to Barbora Krejcikova). On Friday, Pavlyuchenkova defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 7-5 in what was the first scheduled match.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari and second seed Jessica Pegula will play each other for a chance to make it to the semis. Pegula routed sixth seed Daria Kasatkina 6-1, 6-0 in their last-eight meeting in a match that was just about shy of an hour.

The only game Kasatkina won in the match came courtesy of a break of serve. The American converted six of seven break points she had on her opponent’s serve. Pegula also won 61% points on return on Kasatkina’s first serve and 73% points on return on the latter’s second serve.

Lastly, Sakkari extended her domination over Caroline Garcia from the Guadalajara Open the previous week to the Tokyo Open, now. The Greek wrapped up a 6-2, 6-2 win over the French player in 79 minutes. Sakkari conceded just one more game as compared to her Mexican face-off against Garcia, in which she lost only three games.

Veronika Kudermetova Iga Swiatek Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova