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Osaka vs Tomova WTA Osaka Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Osaka opens Osaka campaign against Tomova

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 17 Sep 2019
  • Naomi Osaka vs Viktoriya Tomova is live from Osaka on Wednesday, 18 September from 5:00pm local time/ 9:00am BST
  • First meeting between Osaka and Tomova
Naomi Osaka (PA Sport)

Naomi Osaka opens her campaign at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Osaka on Wednesday when she plays Bulgarian qualifier, Viktoriya Tomova in the second round.

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Osaka is back in the city of her birth for the first time since 2014, when she competed as a 16-year-old wildcard at the Japan Women's Open. Then, ranked 265th in the world, she defeated Erika Serna in the first round before falling to Elina Svitolina in three sets in Round 2.

The 21-year-old has come a long way in a very short time, with the Japanese star now competing as a two-time Grand Slam champion, and a former No. 1. 

The world No. 4 might not have played in Osaka since 2014, but she has been a regular feature at the Pan Pacific Open in the last few seasons, when the tournament was still staged in Tokyo. She reached the final last year, in her first tournament after winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, beating Dominic Cibulkova, Barbora Strycova and Camila Giorgi before falling to Karolina Pliskova in the title match.

The Japanese has since added a second Grand Slam title to last season's US Open triumph, winning the Australian Open at the start of the year, and taking the No. 1 ranking with that success in Melbourne.

She has not quite been able to reproduce that Grand Slam-winning level, as she has made just the one semi-final, in Stuttgart, since winning the Australian Open title. Osaka has reached quarter finals in Madrid, Rome, Toronto and Cincinnati, while her US Open title defence ended with a fourth-round loss to Belinda Bencic.

The 21-year-old has alternated the No. 1 ranking with Ashleigh Barty through the course of the year- she lost it in June, regained it just in time to be top seed at the US Open, and lost it again after failing to defend her title-winning points from Flushing Meadows last season, slipping to No. 4 in the world. She has also undergone a couple of coaching changes this year, splitting with Sascha Bajin shortly after the Australian Open, and breaking up with Jermaine Jenkins earlier this month.

Could that split be the catalyst as she targets a first title of since January? The Osaka top seed begins against qualifier, Tomova on Wednesday. 


24-year-old Tomova had not won a tour-level match this season heading into Osaka, but she finally opened her account for the year with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 victory over Alize Cornet in the first round.

She has had to work very hard for her second round ticket, as she has previously taken out Francesca Di Lorenzo and Liudmila Samsonova in three sets in the qualifying rounds.

Tomova's previous tour-level appearances prior to Osaka were in Budapest, Birmingham and Hiroshima, where she fell in the first round, while she lost out in the qualifying rounds in Brisbane, the Australian Open, Lugano, Istanbul, Prague, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open. She has not exactly been great at ITF level either, with just a title in Biarritz and a couple of quarter finals in Croissy-Beaubourg and Prague to show for the season. 

Tomova peaked at a No. 128 in the rankings in July last year, after reaching the second round at Wimbledon, beating Tereza Smitkova for her first Grand Slam main draw win before falling to Serena Williams, but she tumbled out of the top 200 a year later after falling in the qualifying rounds at the All England Club. She has climbed back to 181st, on the back of a couple of good results on the ITF Tour, including that title run in Biarritz. 

Tomova has managed just six tour-level main draw match wins; it is very unlikely that she adds a seventh when she plays Naomi Osaka in Osaka on Wednesday. 

Naomi Osaka vs Viktoriya Tomova is live from Osaka on Wednesday, 18 September from 5:00pm local time/ 9:00am BST


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Osaka vs Tomova WTA Osaka Preview, Predictions and Live Streaming: Osaka opens Osaka campaign against Tomova

Top seed, Naomi Osaka starts her campaign at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Wednesday when she plays Bulgaria's Viktoriya Tomova. Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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