TAIPEI CITY, Chinese Taipei – No.5 seed Nao Hibino made it safely through to the last 16 of the Taipei OEC Open with a 7-6(6), 6-1 victory over Ankita Raina.
Although the Indian player would serve 77% of first serves in, her opponent was quick to read these and enjoyed a good deal of success on return. Indeed, she won eight of the opening nine points of the match to quickly forge ahead.
Hibino, the WTA World No.119, even had a break point to move 3-0 clear, but it was saved, prompting something of a rally from her opponent, who drew level by winning the eighth game of the set.
There were two more breaks from 5-5, Hibino missing out on the opportunity to serve out the set, and a tight tiebreak ensued, in which the Japanese always held a decisive slender lead.
The second set proved to be far more one sided. The 23-year-old had a wobble when it was balanced at 1-1, but broke in Raina’s next service game, winning four successive points. Subsequently, Hibino would not drop another game and indeed never seriously looked like she was going to.
In the other first round match that took place, Bibiane Schoofs dispatched Carol Zhao, 6-3, 6-2, though was forced to save five of six break points to claim what proved a comfortable victory.