The top seed and defending champion Su-Wei Hsieh will have to give the title away in Hiroshima, losing to Nao Hibino 6-4, 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes. This is the best result of the season for world no. 146, repelling six out of eight break chances and taking almost half of the return points for five breaks and the spot in the semis, the first since Nanchang in the summer of 2017.
Settling into an excellent rhythm, Hibino grabbed a break in the fifth game and fended off a couple of break points in the tenth game to claim the opener 6-4, staying in touch in set number two that saw four breaks in the first six games.
From there, Hibino grabbed the last three games that carried her over the finish line, staying on the course for the second WTA title. The 3rd seed Alison Van Uytvanck is also out, suffering a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Mihaela Buzarnescu in an hour and 48 minutes.
The Romanian has had a terrible streak after claiming the title in San Jose in August 2018 and this was one of her best wins of the season, erasing seven out of nine break chances and delivering four breaks from 12 opportunities to seal the deal in straight sets.
Buzarnescu opened a 4-2 advantage in the first set and kept it until the end with a hold at love at 5-4, taking the final three games of set number two fro 5-4 down to emerge at the top and set Hibino clash for the place in the final.
Misaki Doi will play in the first WTA semi-final since May 2017, beating the 7th seed Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-5, 6-1 in an hour and 19 minutes. The Japanese lost serve four times but that was never a problem considering she grabbed 60% of the return points, producing seven breaks and rattling off nine of the final ten games to march into the semis.
The Spaniard led 4-2 and 5-4, serving for the first set before dropping 12 of the next 17 points and allowing Doi to steal it 7-5. With the momentum on her side, the Japanese scored three breaks in set number two for the best result on the Tour in more than two years, staying in contention for the second WTA title.
The 2nd seed Veronika Kudermetova prevailed against the 8th seed Laura Siegemund 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in two hours and 11 minutes, getting broken only once and stealing the rival's serve three times to cross the finish line with a double break in the decider for the second semi-final in 2019.
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