Iga Swiatek is set to return to action and the Pole has learned her projected path to the Tokyo title. After suffering a shock US Open round-of-16 exit, Swiatek is playing again at next week's WTA 500 tournament in Tokyo. In the Japanese capital, Swiatek is the top-seeded player and has a first-round bye.
After a first-round bye, Swiatek will likely play against Noa Hibino in her tournament opener. In the Tokyo quarterfinal, Swiatek is projected to play a seeded player for the first time in the tournament as she could easily meet against eighth-seeded Veronika Kudermetova.
The semifinal stage in Tokyo could bring a major matchup as Swiatek and 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina are projected to battle for a final spot. Should Swiatek reach the Tokyo final, the names that she could meet there include Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Caroline Garcia.
Swiatek hopes to bounce back in Tokyo
At the US Open, Swiatek failed to defend her title after surprisingly losing to Jelena Ostapenko in the round-of-16. With that result, Swiatek also lost the world No 1 ranking for the first time since achieving it in 2022 April.
Two days later, Swiatek shared a message. "Last 1,5 year was a time of observing and experiencing how much people talk and write about 'defending', 'defense' - of titles, ranking position, points... I was surprised sometimes to start to think this way because of this.
But... I don't need to defend anything and this is a good moment to write down some thoughts. For me sport is a cycle of constant changes exactly like in everyday life, we can either win or lose - that's it, it's so simple. New season, next tournament, new opportunities to GAIN, ACHIEVE, not defend something.
Clean slate. During this year's US swing I could win and achieve more, that's for sure. I know some of you expected more, many of you expected 'defending' the No 1 ranking, the title. But I stick to my mindset: when I work hard, I'm developing myself and doing my job, I will create many more chances to WIN, to ACHIEVE my goals and not to defend," Swiatek said in a message posted after her US Open exit. It remains to be seen if Swiatek can bounce back by winning Tokyo in her tournament debut.
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