Top seed Doi reached a career-high ranking of 32 just before the US Open, before dropping three places after a disappointing straight-sets loss to Carina Witthoeft. She was hoping to follow up her impressive run at Wimbledon, where she beat US Open finalist Karolina Pliskova on her way to the fourth round.
Doi will be more hopeful of success in Tokyo, despite a tough draw which could see her face two dangerous unseeded players – Alison Riske and Louisa Chirico – in the second and third rounds. If she gets through those two matches, she might find it easier after that.
Belgium’s number one earned her fourth career title when she won this event last year. Wickmayer beat several players close to her in the rankings – most notably Johanna Larsson and Kateryna Bondarenko – on her way to winning the Japan Women’s Open, and she will be hoping for a repeat this time around.
Wickmayer has a kind draw in Tokyo, with Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic up first and then last year’s surprise finalist Magda Linette her most likely opponent in round two. 7th seed Christina McHale could provide the Belgian with a tough task if she makes the third round.
Putintseva produced the best tennis of her career at this year’s French Open. She beat Andrea Petkovic and Carla Suárez Navarro en route to the last eight, then gave Serena Williams a scare when she won the first set against her in the quarter-final.
The Kazakhstani’s results during the American hard court season were not as good. However, her run to the Washinghton semi-final was a notable highlight. She will fancy her chances of reaching another semi-final in Tokyo this week as she has a relatively easy draw up until that point.
The Swede is at a career-high ranking of 46 after good results in Bastad and New Haven and a run to the US Open third round. She lost to eventual champion Wickmayer in the second round of the Japan Women’s Open last year and has a tough draw again this year.
First-round opponent Sabine Lisicki started 2016 as the world number 32. The German has fallen to 113, but she can be very dangerous if she plays well. Second-round opponent Varvara Lepchenko will be full of confidence after beating Timea Bacsinszky at the US Open. And all three of Larsson’s potential third-round foes in Tokyo – Zhang Shuai, Anett Kontaveit and Naomi Osaka – can be difficult to beat.
The Coupe Banque Nationale takes place from 12-18 August.
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