The draw was complete for the qualifying at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open in Tokyo.
But there were two openings, after a pair of players – Miyu Kato and Ying Ying Duan – were held back playing doubles in Hiroshima. And, with three WTA Tour events in the same region in the same week, not a lot of backup players.
So two alternates – players who are mainly doubles specialists – got spots: Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski (No. 542) and Australia’s Anastasia Rodionova, who hadn’t won a singles match in a year and a half and is ranked outside the top 1,000.
Dabrowski doesn’t play much singles these days, either. Her top doubles status means she plays the larger events where her sub-500 singles ranking won’t let her even sniff the qualifying. But did play last week in Quebec City, and qualified.
As the draw shook out, if both got through their first rounds, Gabrowski would have had to face countrywoman and Fed Cup teammate Genie Bouchard for a spot in the main draw.
They forgot a player
Japan’s Misa Eguchi, ranking No. 454 – higher than both Dabrowski and Rodionova.
What to do?
Well, per the rules, Eguchi gets in, and Dabrowski and Rodionova have to play a preliminary match for the now one remaining spot in qualifying.
Which greatly confused the algorithms of the scoring system.
(We also don’t know why they put the winner of the match in Rodionova’s spot, not Dabrowski’s. But that’s likely because Eguchi was the higher ranked of the two, and therefore went into the spot where Dabrowski, who had been the higher-ranked between she and Rodionova, had been).
But what the changes did do, was to take Bouchard and Dabrowski out of each other’s way in the draw.
In the end, Dabrowski had to play two matches on Saturday just to get to the second and final round of qualifying. Which she did.
She beat Rodionova 7-5, 6-3, and then had a significantly easier time beating Miharu Imanishi.
Finally, the scoring was back in line.
Second straight main draw
Dabrowski also had a surprisingly easy time beating No. 8 seed Antonia Lottner (who had defeated two other Fed Cup teammates, Françoise Abanda and Bianca Andreescu in the Wimbledon qualifying this year), to reach the main draw.
According to the WTA Rules – as we understand them – Rodionova would still get first-round qualifying prize money ($1,750) and ranking points (1). She’ll also get her per diem reimbursed, although she’ll have one anyway as she is in the doubles draw.
For her part, Dabrowski will get the ranking points and prize money she earns, depending on how far she gets in the tournament.
Dabrowski’s first-round match will be against Johanna Konta on Tuesday afternoon in Tokyo. Even if she loses, she’ll still earn $7,150 and 26 ranking points.
Dabrowski and partner Yifan Xu of China are the No. seeds in the doubles as well.
Bonus money and points
As a bonus (for the extra work), per the WTA rules, Dabrowski also is to be given 25 per cent of the second-round money, and 35 per cent of the second-round ranking points. (Strictly speaking, the way the rule is laid out, it appears to refer to a main draw; we’ve drawn the conclusion that the same principles apply in a qualifying draw).
So that’s another $862, and four additional ranking points, (precisely, 3.71).
Given Dabrowski came in with a ranking of No. 541, just those four points are worth some 15 spots by themselves.
So the Canadian arrived in Tokyo with 54 ranking points and will leave, at minimum, with 84. That will bump up her singles ranking to around No. 430 – more than 100 spots.
That’s a good weekend’s work – despite the pink courts that are murder on the players’ depth perception.