Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo will take place between September 17-23 on an indoor hard court, moving from the Ariake Coliseum for a year in order to upgrade that facility for Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Garcia, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Ashleigh Barty are already confirmed for this Premiere event and the draw has just become much stronger after the organizers have given the wild cards to a three-time champion Caroline Wozniacki and to a former number 1 Victoria Azarenka.
Caroline was victorious in Tokyo in 2016 and 2017, beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final last year and hoping for more of the same next week after an early exit at the US Open. After losing six finals in 2017, Caroline went all the way in Tokyo and that gave her a boost to conquer the WTA Finals as well and finish the year on a high note.
Caroline claimed her first Major title at the Australian Open in January and she also won Eastbourne, standing on two titles so far in the season full of ups and downs (only five Grand Slam wins after Melbourne) and losing four of the last six matches.
Victoria Azarenka has played 11 tournaments so far in 2018, reaching the semi-final in Miami but struggling to make an impression in the other events, although she fought great against Stephens in New York. Azarenka had played in Tokyo for six straight years from 2009, reaching the semi-final in 2010 and 2011 and she returns to Tokyo for the first time since 2014 when Ana Ivanovic defeated her in the second round.
Alongside Wozniacki and Azarenka, world number 99 Kristyna Pliskova grabbed a wild card to play in the main draw for the first time since 2011, together with a home star Kurumi Nara who had reached the second round 12 months ago, losing to Caroline Garcia.