Veronika Kudermetova pulled off the biggest upset of the week in Tokyo on Friday, taking out top-seeded Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals of the WTA 500 hard-court event, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

It was a particularly impressive win given Swiatek had won all four previous meetings routinely: 6-3, 6-3; 6-1, 6-0; 6-0, 6-1; and 6-1, 6-1.

“I tried to just believe that I can beat her,” Kudermetova said. “Today I’m really happy that I managed to switch it on to win one match.”

Kudermetova’s victory over the No. 2-ranked Swiatek is tied for the biggest win of her career by ranking, after defeating then-No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the second round of Berlin in June this year.

It’s also the ninth Top 5 win of her career.

KUDERMETOVA’S TOP 5 WINS (in order of ranking):
d. No. 2 Sabalenka in 2023 Berlin 2nd Rd
d. No. 2 Swiatek in 2023 Tokyo QFs
d. No. 3 Pliskova in 2020 Cincinnati 2nd Rd
d. No. 3 Pegula in 2023 Madrid QFs
d. No. 4 Svitolina in 2019 Moscow 2nd Rd
d. No. 4 Badosa in 2022 Roland Garros 3rd Rd
d. No. 5 Svitolina in 2021 Abu Dhabi QFs
d. No. 5 Sabalenka in 2022 Berlin 1st Rd
d. No. 5 Jabeur in 2022 San Jose QFs

Kudermetova is actually 9-7 in her career against Top 5 players.

Kudermetova is currently ranked No. 19, but she was ranked No. 9 as recently as January of this year.

Kudermetova is currently ranked No. 19, but she was ranked No. 9 as recently as January of this year.


After two relatively lopsided sets to start, Kudermetova grabbed the only break of the third set early on in the decider and rode that break to victory, eventually serving it out on her first try.

“My serve worked really well today. I’m happy it was like that,” Kudermetova said. “In the last game I was focusing on the rally, not just the serve, because I knew I needed to play well in rallies too.”

Swiatek had more winners in the match, 18 to 11, but also more unforced errors, 50 to 35. The former No. 1 missed a forehand into the net on match point, her 50th unforced error of the match.

Kudermetova is now through to her sixth semifinal of the year, and her first since reaching the final of ’s-Hertogenbosch on grass in June, where she finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Up next is another Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

“For sure it will be a tough match,” Kudermetova said. “Nastia’s playing really well. We played doubles together here and know each other. It will be an interesting match. I’ll try to do what I can.”