It was a disappointing outing in Japan for the World No. 2 as she suffered a defeat in only her second match on the Asian tour. With Aryna Sabalenka absent, Swiatek entered the tournament as the top seed and managed to defeat local player Mai Hontama (148th) with a score of 6-4, 7-5, after Hontama had advanced through the qualifiers.
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In the second round, her opponent was the 8th seed Veronika Kudermetova (17th), who had been going through an inconsistent period on the WTA Tour. However, the Russian player found her form in Tokyo and reached the semifinals, despite having a 2-5 record since the start of the hardcourt swing.
Swiatek committed 50 unforced errors in the match, which was the highest number in her entire career. Additionally, the Polish player has struggled in her second matches at tournaments since August 2022 when she was defeated at the Cincinnati Open, just a week before winning her third Grand Slam title at the US Open.
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Fans expressed their disappointment in Swiatek's recent performance, as she has been struggling to find her best form and recently lost the World No. 1 ranking to Sabalenka:
"Iga's time is up. No slam next year for her," some user wrote.
"Lol hurts you to post this one huh? “ def wasn’t Iga’s day” ??? Are you kidding her serve is getting exposed so much Mai did it first but didnt have the tools to wins , Kuder did and packed her up. Safe to say her game is one dimensional and everyone is catching on #ClayMerchant."
"The problem with Iga Swiatek right now is what does she do if her opponents game plan is working in combination with her making routine unforced errors on both wings when she doesn’t have her usual baseline timing? She doesn’t seem to have a plan B right now, besides hit harder."
Here are some other reactions from the fans in X (former Twitter):