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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Pan Pacific Open draw should suit Karolina Pliskova

US Open victory may have taken something out of Naomi Osaka

Karolina Pliskova kisses the the Brisbane International trophy
1 of 1

BT Sport 1, starts 4am Monday

US Open heroine Naomi Osaka headlines a quality field in the Pan Pacific Open and the Japanese ace will be hoping she can celebrate her Grand Slam success by following up in front of her home fans in Tokyo.

Osaka’s straight-sets triumph over Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows rewarded her with her first Grand Slam title and at 20 she is the most promising youngster in the game.

However, Osaka was a first-round casualty in this event last season and her heroics in New York must have taken something out of her. She’s also drawn in the top half along with dazzling Dane Caroline Wozniacki, who has claimed back-to-back titles in Tokyo, and punters are advised to look elsewhere.

The value may be in the bottom half of the draw where Karolina Pliskova looks overpriced.

The classy Czech made the quarter-finals of the US Open before succumbing to defeat against a rejuvenated Serena and a generous draw may be what is needed to help her regain the winning touch.

Pliskova hasn't had the best of seasons despite making the last eight in two of the four Grand Slams but she is slowly coming to the boil and a bye, followed by a potential showdown with twin sister Kristyna is unlikely to deter her.

Garbine Muguruza may be waiting in the quarter-finals but she hasn't delivered away from the clay this season - she was a second-round casualty at Flushing Meadows - and has plenty to prove.

Fellow seed Sloane Stephens has had a busy campaign and is an opposable favourite due to her tough opener against Donna Vekic.

Recommendation
Karolina Pliskova
1pt each-way 15-2 Betfair, Paddy Power


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Sloane Stephens has had a busy campaign and is an opposable favourite due to her tough opener against Donna Vekic
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