The unseeded duo of Nao Hibino and Misaki Doi will contest the second all-Japanese WTA final in the Open Era following Jakarta 1997, where Naoko Sawamatsu defeated Yuka Yoshida 6-3, 6-2 to claim her fourth and final career title. Hibino and Doi are also in the doubles final - on the same side, and will bid for their first title as a team against Christina McHale and Valeria Savinykh.
Hibino and Doi have split four previous meetings 2-2. Doi took the first two duels 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of Stanford in 2016 and 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the first round of Taipei City in 2017, but Hibino levelled the head-to-head with a pair of victories in 2018, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Berkeley ITF W60 event and 6-4, 6-3 in US Open qualifying.
28-year-old Doi and 24-year-old Hibino are both seeking to lift their second career trophy - having each captured their first in the same month, October 2015, when Hibino won Tashkent and Doi won Luxembourg. Doi is also a two-time WTA 125K champion, in San Antonio in 2016 and Bastad this July.
Hibino will play her fifth career final; she has a 1-3 record to date, having followed up her Tashkent 2015 victory over Donna Vekic with losses to Kristyna Pliskova at Tashkent 2016, Ashleigh Barty at Kuala Lumpur 2017 and Peng Shuai at Nanchang 2017. Doi will play her third career final; so far, she is 1-1, having defeated Mona Barthel in the Luxembourg 2015 final and lost to Venus Williams in the 2016 Kaohsiung final.
Hiroshima will host the third WTA final of the season between players ranked outside the Top 100 as World No.146 Hibino takes on World No.107 Doi. In the Prague final, World No.146 Jil Teichmann defeated World No.106 Karolina Muchova and in the Bucharest final, World No.106 Elena Rybakina defeated the unranked Patricia Maria Tig. Former World No.30 Doi is guaranteed to return to the Top 100 next week, but former World No.56 Hibino would need to take the title to do so.
The winner will be the fifth home champion at this tournament. All four previously came during its incarnation as the Japan Open between 1979 and 2008: Etsuko Inoue in 1983, Kumiko Okamoto in 1989, four-time champion Kimiko Date in 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996, and two-time champion Ai Sugiyama in 1997 and 1998. Since rebranding as the Japan Women's Open in 2009, there have only been two home finalists prior to this year: Date in 2010 (runner-up to Tamarine Tanasugarn) and Miyu Kato in 2017 (runner-up to Zarina Diyas).
ORDER OF PLAY (starts 11.30am)
Nao HIBINO (JPN) vs Misaki DOI (JPN)
Singles Trophy Presentation
Christina MCHALE (USA) / Valeria SAVINYKH (RUS) vs Misaki DOI (JPN) / Nao HIBINO (JPN)