Kurumi Nara emerged the victor in a long three set battle with Daniela Hantuchova, while Eugenie Bouchard and Sabine Lisicki recorded comfortable victories amongst the seeded players. Nao Hibino was the only seeded casualty on the opening day in Malaysia.
Nara Outlasts Hantuchova
Hantuchova has been on a long losing streak in main draw matches dating all the way back to last July. This year alone she has just three wins under her belt, all of them coming in qualifying rounds. The Slovak was looking to break her 'duck' against Nara whom she had last won against in their only clash in 2011.
It was the Japanese who edged to grab the first set 6-4. Hantuchova, however, fought back to take the second set in a close tiebreak. The third set was an even battle as the Slovak failed to serve out the set when she had the chance. She saved one match point and forced the set into a tiebreak once again. Both players had chances to snatch victory but they struggled to close the match. Nara finally sealed the victory on her fourth match point with the score line at 6-4, (4)6-7, 7-6(10) to the Japanese.
Wildcard Lisicki Advances To Second Round
Wildcard entrant and third seed Sabine Lisicki needed an hour and 40 minutes to overcome Magda Linette to progress to the second round. Though Linette got the first break, it was quickly recovered by the German to take the first set. The second set was a closer affair with both players exchanging breaks twice to bring it to a tiebreak. Leading 5-1 in the tiebreak, Linette failed to assert control as she was pegged back by the German who won six straight points to clinch the set and match 6-4, 7-6(5).
Hibino Brushed Aside By Ying Ying Duan
Fifth seed was sent crashing out of the tournament as Ying Ying Duan sealed a convincing 6-4, 6-2 win. The Chinese player was barely troubled facing zero break points as she recorded her first win against the highest ranked Hibino.
Bouchard Steamrolls Past Ling Zhang
In the last match of the day, it was already night by the time the two players took to centre court. With Ling Zhang ranked at 278, it was easy to forget the victory she has over the Canadian in their only ever previous meeting in 2011. In a humid night, Bouchard went about her business, eager to get it over with quickly as she cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over the wildcard Zhang in just 69 minutes.
2012 champion, Su-Wei Hsieh, continued her quest for her second title here with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Jana Cepelova. Cepelova gave a bit more fight in the second set but Hsieh was always the stronger player as she got the job done in 83 minutes. The Slovakian was made to continue to wait for her first main draw win in 2016.
Qualifier Barbora Krejcikova won in the only other three setter on day one. She won the first set against Yafan Wang before Wang took control of the second set. The Chinese had more chances to break her opponent in the deciding set but was not able to capitalize while having difficulties holding her own serve. Krejcikova ultimately getting the win against the higher ranked player 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.
The other qualifier, Luksika Khumkum, however suffered a 2-6, 1-6 defeat in the hands of Qiang Wang. The Chinese player was not waiting around as she cruised to the second round in just over an hour.
Kristina Kucova saved the Slovakians as she was the only winner among the three who played. She moves on to the second round after a straight sets 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Stefanie Voegele.
Day Two Matches
8th seed Saisai Zheng looks to continue her fine run in Doha, in a first round clash with Zhaoxuan Yang. German Annika Beck who is also the fourth seed, rounds off the seeds' action in round one in a meeting with Zarina Diyas.