TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - No.4 seed Nao Hibino got her Tashkent Open title defense off to a winning start, powering past local wildcard Komola Umarova in straight sets to secure a spot in the second round.
"I'm happy to be back to Tashkent and was a bit nervous playing here," said Hibino, who claimed her maiden WTA title here last year. The Japanese 21-year-old scored a 6-3, 6-1 win over an overwhelmed Umarova in just under an hour.
Also in action at the Olympic Tennis School in Tashkent, Hibino's countrywoman Kurumi Nara faced a tougher opening round challenge but still scored a straight sets win over Ukrainian wildcard Dayana Yastremska. Nara needed one hour and 48 minutes to advance to the second round 7-5, 6-2.
Stefanie Voegele was made to work for her second round spot, surviving the toughest match of the day against local qualifier Sabina Sharipova. The pair wrestled with the momentum throughout the two-hour-and-thirty-eight minute encounter before Voegele advanced 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 and moved into the second round for the second year in a row.
Joining her in the second round are Denisa Allertova and Maria Sakkari. No.9 seed Allertova stopped Japanese qualifier Hiroko Kuwata 6-3, 6-4, while Sakarri pushed past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.