Konichiwa!!! The 13th till the 18th of may, I played the Japan Open. Last year I skipped this Super Series event. It was nice to come back to Iizuka to play this event.
After having a bye first round, I played Young-Suk Hong in the 2nd round. She is a former top 8 player, who made a comeback this year. It was nice to see her back on the court. It was like we turn back the clock when we started our match. It was a close first set, but I took it 6-4. After that I made less mistakes and I took the 2nd set 6-0.
In the quarterfinal I played another Korean player, Yu-Jeon Park. I don't think it was a very good match, but I won 6-3 6-2.
In the semifinal I had to play Sabine Ellerbrock, world no. 1! The start of the match wasn't good. In no time I was facing 0-3 on the scoreboard. But when I took the next game, I started to play a lot better. I came back and took the first set 6-4. In the 2nd set I didn't loose focus and took ik 6-2.
On the saturday it was time to play the doubles final with Aniek van Koot. 8 months ago we won the US Open together, our fourth Slam that year. But Aniek got injured, and wasn't able to compete for months. It was so great to be back on the court again in Japan. We didn't drop a game on the way to the final! In the final we played Yui Kamiji and Marjolein Buis. We played a very good first set, winning it 6-2. In the second set we were struggling, we didn't make pressure like in the first set. We fought like lions, but lost the second set 4-6. The third set was a match-tiebreak. We were down 2-4, but eventually took it 10-7. Our first title after 8 months of silence. It was our first Japan Open title as well, so very happy with this result.
On sunday I played the singles final against Yui Kamiji. Of course the crowd was in favor of Yui, as she is Japanese. I didn't play well, made too many errors and not a lot of winners. It dind't took Yui long to clinch the 1st set 6-2. In the second set I really tried to fight a way into the match. Yui took some pressure off and I tried to turn the match around. But it didn't work. I lost the second 4-6. Dissapointed with my level of play in the final.
Thanks to KLM we flew back in business class. So came home well rested and ready to prepare for the next tournaments.