The newly ascended World No. 1 has gone through a complete turnabout since tearfully exiting Roland Garros. There she looked a little relieved that the endless questions in the lead up about defending her title had stopped.
Of course it all starts again after she lifted the Wimbledon title, but second time around she seems to have really embraced it, and now she has the challenge of dealing with the pressure of being the World No. 1. We have seen that it can be more of a burden than a benefit, so the challenge is on for the Spaniard to step up.
In the past she has struggled to get up for the grind once more of tour life after a Slam, but her run up to the US Open was impressive and there are plenty of points on offer in the Asian swing. Her best result was in 2014 where she reached the semi-final and she’s been to the quarter-final for the last two years, but the expectation is she will go a lot deeper.
Following on from the surprising news that Pliskova and David Kotyza are parting ways after just 10 months, it will be interesting to see how one of the more laid back characters on the tour comes back. Again there was lot of expectation on Pliskova to repeat her run to the US Open final, if not go one better, but it was not all plain sailing.
Twice she had to come back from a set down to prevail, before bowing out to a motivated Coco Vandeweghe in the quarter-finals, and losing the top spot in the rankings in the process.
Having reached the quarter-finals in 2015, she came into last year’s after the high of her first Slam final and bounced out in her opening round, so she has points to pick up here.
Tokyo has seemed to be a successful hunting ground for the Dane, who is bidding to keep her record of a title each year since 2008. Having made sic finals this year and not quite made it over the line, she should have a little confidence that this is a tournament that suits her.
She was not best pleased to be ousted early at the US Open after reaching the Toronto final, and as defending champion she will be looking for a quick start to her Asian swing.
The Brit is back, and the pressure will be on now that Andy Murray is out for the rest of the year. Expectations have already been progressively mounting up on Konta who has handled it with her usual process of trying as much as possible to disassociate herself from the outside pressures and concentrating on the job in hand.
It has worked to a point while Murray was still in the mix in the latter stages of Wimbledon. It was a different matter in New York and a surprise exit for Konta in the opening round, in a tournament that had been a solid one in the past.
She makes her debut in the Tokyo Premier event after a long break and finds herself in a battle for the Race to Singapore.
The Toray Pan Pacific Open takes place between 18-24 September.
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