No.5 seed Ajla Tomljanovic easily reached the second round of the Hana-cupid Japan Women's Open, in its first edition in Hiroshima, after she beat Fiona Ferro 6-4, 6-1. The Australian claimed seven breaks from eight looks and gained 79% of second serve return points against the Frenchwoman whose challenge faded in the second set.
Tomljianovic, who finished the match with more winners and unforced errors to testify her superiority, missed two set points in the first set at 5-2 but on her own serve, Tomljanovic held to love to seal the win. Next up for Tomljanovic is Zhu Lin, who beat 2017 finalist Miyu Kato 76(3) 62.
Kato, one of four home representatives in the draw, joined by fellow wildcards Misaki Doi and Nao Hibino, as well as Japanese No.2 Kurumi Nara, reached the final last year in Tokyo, before losing to Zarina Diyas, returning as the No.6 seed.
Two other players to have reached the final at the tournament’s previous homes of Tokyo and Osaka are in the draw, Eugenie Bouchard and Magda Linette. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova snapped a 5-match losing streak and picked up the first win at the tournament's new venue when No.3 seed Yulia Putintseva was forced to retire when trailing 6-2.
The Kazakh won both previous meetings with the Slovak, prevailing in Launceston in 2012 and again in Doha four years later, but a lower back injury caused her first retirement this season. Schmiedlova, who celebrated her best-by-rank win of the year, will meet for the first time Viktorija Golubic, after her stunning turnaround to beat Misaki Doi 06 63 76(1).
The Japanese won more points and gained a 5-3 lead in the decider, but Golubic completed the fourth comeback win of the season thanks to her seventh final set tiebreak victory. Golubic needed to to save three match points to seal the 25th overall win of the season, the third in her career after losing the opening set 6-0.
No.7 seed Saisai Zheng clinched the second career victory over Magda Linette in six meetings, the first since her three-set win in Tokyo in 2015. The American, who put less than a first serve on-court out of two, surrendered 7-5 6-4.
Also Luksika Kumkhum moved to the second round. She had to dig deep to complete the fourth comeback victory of the year in a topsy-turvy encounter with Ying-Ying Duan. Kumkhum sealed nine breaks from ten looks and overcame the Chinese 57 62 62.