WTA Hiroshima: Misaki Doi and Nao Hibino set all-Japanese final


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WTA Hiroshima: Misaki Doi and Nao Hibino set all-Japanese final

Two home players will play for the title in Hiroshima, with Nao Hibino and Misaki Doi both chasing the second WTA crown, the first since 2015. Hibino and Doi defeated their semi-final rivals to set the first all-Japanese WTA final since Jakarta 1997 when Naoko Sawamatsu and Yuka Yoshida went all the way, playing on a high level throughout the week and earning the opportunity to win the title despite both being ranked outside the top-100.

Nao Hibino is through to the fifth WTA title match following a 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 triumph over Mihaela Buzarnescu in two hours and ten minutes, overcoming a slow start to leave the opponent behind and stay on the title course.

Hibino fended off ten out of 12 break chances, dropping 40% of the points behind the initial shot but erasing that deficit with a strong performance in the pivotal moments and half of the points she stole on the return for six breaks from 14 chances, dominating in sets two and three to cross the finish line in style.

There were three breaks of serve in the closing stages of the opening set, with Buzarnescu seizing two of those to grab the set 6-4 and the momentum ahead of set number two where Hibino had the upper hand to serve a bagel and send the encounter into a decider.

There, the Japanese clinched breaks in games three and nine to prevail and move a win away from the trophy. Misaki Doi is through to the third WTA final with a 6-4, 6-3 win over the 2nd seed Veronika Kudermetova in an hour and 22 minutes, getting broken once and doing enough damage on the return to seal the deal in straight sets.

They stayed neck and neck in the first nine games before Doi delivered the crucial break for a 6-4, taking a 3-0 advantage in the second set and earning the pivotal break in the sixth game to bring the match home from there and advance into the final.