Sharapova Headlines WTA Tokyo Beginning Tuesday
Posted on January 31, 2006
Officially titled the Toray Pan Pacific Open, Maria Sharapova will be renaming this week's WTA stop in Tokyo the Russian Open as she leads fellow seeds Elena Dementieva, Anastasia Myskina and Elena Likhovtseva toward a title effort.
Non-Russians among the seeds in Tokyo are France's Nathalie Dechy, Czech Nicole Vaidisova, Slovak Daniela Hantuchova, and Serb bombshell Ana Ivanovic.
Lindsay Davenport was forced to withdraw from the event after turning her ankle at the Australian Open, and Serena Williams backed out of the event saying she was "not ready."
Opening-round matches of interest include (6) Hantuchova vs. Serb Jelena Jankovic, four-time Tokyo winner (WC) Martina Hingis vs. homegrown talent Akiko Morigami, (8) Ivanovic vs. Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama, and (7) Likhovtseva vs. homegirl Shinobu Asagoe.
In last year's final Sharapova beat the top-seeded Davenport 7-6 in the third.
Scheduled on the first day of play Tuesday in Tokyo are Vaidisova vs. Fujiwara, Jankovic vs. Hantuchova, Sugiyama vs. Ivanovic, Obata vs. Peschke, Craybas vs. Srebotnik, Kirilenko vs. Santangelo, and Bartoli vs. Golovin in an all-French match-up.