WTA TOKYO - Cibulkova and Garcia race into second round


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WTA TOKYO - Cibulkova and Garcia race into second round

Caroline Garcia cruised into the second round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open. The French No.1 beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 6-3 collecting the 34th win of the season. In the opening set the No.9 seed overcame two early breaks of serve against the Belarusian, ranked 66 places below her, and needed four chances to move a set ahead.

Garcia was first to strike in the second set as she broke Sasnovich to 3-1 before another trade of breaks. Garcia emerged 4-2 ahead and thanks to 67 percent of second serve points won moved for the first time in three appearances to the second round.

Garcia, who served 258 aces so far, now awaits Kurumi Nara with the Japanese leading 2-1 in the head to heads. Daria Kasatkina also had to recover from a set down, for the sixth time this season, to beat American qualifier Madison Brengle 3-6 6-2 6-4.

The American put 77 percent of first serves in but managed to clinch only 47 percent of points. The Russian confirmed to be very consistent in third setters. Thanks to her ninth win out of 13 deciding sets played, the Russian will try to beat Angelique Kerber for the third time in as many matches this season.

Fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova made a solid start to her campaign at the Toray Pan-Pacific Open, beating Carla Suárez Navarro 6-3 6-3 thanks to a strong forehand and a very consistent serve. The Slovak won 76 percent of firse serve points and 68 percent on her second deliveries, finishing in style with a break to love.

She will face Siniakova or Cepelova. Local wildcard Han Na-Lae scored her second WTA win, her biggest ever, as she dismissed No.3 seed Kristyna Pliskova 6-4 6-4 to reach the secound round at the KEB Hana Bank-Incheon Airport Korea Open.

Han won her maiden main draw match three years ago beating compatriot Jang Su Jeong and had won an ITF title in her hometown of Incheon earlier this year. Pliskova managed to break back in the second set but the 25-year-old lefty steadied her nerve to break for the third time in the match to clinch the upset.

Han will face Sara Sorribes Tormo who advanced past Heather Watson in three sets on Monday. The Spaniard has not lost this year against opponents ranked outside top 200. No.2 seed Kiki Bertens surrendered to a first round defeat as well.

The World No.29 lost to her compatriot Richel Hogenkam 5-7 6-4 6-3. Bertens, the highest ranked player beaten by Hogenkamp this season, gained no more than 59% of first serve points and, in a match featuring 17 breaks of serve, paid for the six unconverted games.

Hogenkamp, after her third comeback win this year, will face the Czech Denisa Allertova to reach her second WTA quarter-final, the first since Bastad in 2013. Top seed Jelena Ostapenko beat Johanna Larsson 7-6 6-1 in her first match as a top 10.

The Swede recurred to her usual top-spin forehands and sliced backhands to stop the attack-minded Latvian, able to read and manage brilliantly the various moments of the match. Ostapenko saved a single break point, at 5-5 30-40 in the first set.

Missed the first two set points from 6-4 to 6-6 in the tiebreak, Ostapenko sealed it on her third chance outmuscling Larsson on her forehand. Two opening breaks helped Ostapenko to complete a much more easier second set. Ostapenko awaits Nao Hibino: the Latvian lead 1-0 in the head to heads after her success last year in the first qualifying round at Dubai.

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