HIROSHIMA, Japan – No.5 seed Ajla Tomljanovic made safe passage through to the second round of the Hana-cupid Japan Women's Open thanks to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Fiona Ferro.
The Australian was the quicker player out of the blocks in a first set in which there were seven breaks of serve, while she pulled away in the second as the Frenchwoman’s challenge faded.
"I thought I played a pretty good match from start to finish," she said. "The conditions got a bit tough - it was windy and a cold - but it's a really nice court. It feels a bit intimate. You can really hear the crowd."
The tone for the opening set was laid down by the WTA World No.60 in the very first game as she broke serve, and though she would not have known it, the hold she made in the next was to become a precious commodity.
Both players toiled to win on their own delivery throughout, with a sequence of weak service games favouring Tomljanovic, who looked the player in greater control, even if she was struggling to exert it at times on the scoreboard.
Two set points were fashioned by the higher ranked player in the seventh game, yet these were squandered. Ferro did well to resist, however, powering a super passing shot beyond her rival, who had sent an overhead fizzing down the center of the court.
Another chance to close out the set was squandered in the next game, but on her own serve she powered away to love to finally see out the set, with her greater power and accuracy reflected by superior numbers in both the winners and unforced errors column.
The opening set had been a complicated affair but the second was to prove altogether more straightforward. Tomljanovic held in the opening game, and while that was countered by her opponent, she moved through serenely by winning the last five games, displaying the type of consistency with her groundstrokes that the 21-year-old was unable to match.
Next up for Tomljanovic, who has said she will take some time out to visit the Peace Memorial Garden, is Zhu Lin.