WTA Taipei: Misaki Doi powers past compatriot Nao Hibino in three sets

WTA Taipei: Misaki Doi powers past compatriot Nao Hibino in three sets

Misaki Doi defeated her compatriot Nao Hibino in three tough sets to progress to the second round of the Taiwan Open, where she would face yet another compatriot.

don-han
Don Han

It was an all-Japanese affair in the first round of the Taiwan Open between Misaki Doi and Nao Hibino, where Doi eventually triumphed in three sets in a match which saw numerous momentum shifts.

Perfect start for Doi

Several strong serves put in by Doi managed to help her get a comfortable hold of serve to start the match with. Getting the rhythm on her solid groundstrokes as soon as the match started, Doi then broke serve in the next game to have the early advantage, leading by 2-0. Relying on her solid baseline game, Doi affirmed her lead in the scoreboard as she consolidated the break of serve with yet another comfortable service hold.

Misaki Doi defeated Ekaterina Makarova in her first match of 2017 | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac
Misaki Doi defeated Ekaterina Makarova in her first match of 2017 | Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images AsiaPac

Maintaining her composure, Hibino finally got herself onto the scoreboard after such a long while, saving two break points in the process to hold her service game for the first time and prevent her compatriot from running away with the first set. Doi eventually closed out the set by a 6-2 scoreline, breaking serve once more in the last game of the set after 30 minutes of play.

Hibino fights back

After an exchange of comfortable service holds to start the second set with, it was unexpectedly Hibino who managed to make the first breakthrough, breaking serve at 1-1 to take the lead in the match for the first time. Getting rid of those unnecessary unforced errors which caused her greatly in the first set, Hibino continued strolling through the second set when she consolidated the break of serve and earned yet another break point on Doi’s serve.

Nao Hibino would look to shake off the disappointment from the match | Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images AsiaPac
Nao Hibino would look to shake off the disappointment from the match | Photo: Pat Scala/Getty Images AsiaPac

However, she was unable to convert the break point this time and allowed Doi to hold serve. Hibino almost threw away the advantage when she conceded two break points to her higher-ranked compatriot, but maintained her composure to win four consecutive points and keep her lead intact. Doi would rue the missed opportunity to return back on serve as she was immediately broken in the next game to gift Hibino the chance to serve out the set, which she dutifully did so to level the match.

Doi almost gets pegged back

Similar to the first set, Doi managed to get the momentum running in her as she broke serve in her opening return game of the final set, getting the early advantage. Another comfortable service hold for Doi then saw her lead being extended to 3-0, with Hibino slowly falling out of contention for the victory. Hibino got herself into some great danger once again, allowing Doi to get to deuce at 3-0 as she threatened to break once more. Nevertheless, Hibino came up with some good tennis to hold her serve which seemed to give her some confidence as she broke straight back from out of nowhere to return back on serve and make the match wide open again.

Nao Hibino in action at her home tournament in Tokyo | Photo: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac
Nao Hibino in action at her home tournament in Tokyo | Photo: Koji Watanabe/Getty Images AsiaPac

An exchange of breaks followed as both players looked inconsistent on their serves, with the match looking further unpredictable. Hibino had to serve to stay in the set at 4-5, and perhaps lost the most crucial point of the match at 30-30 as she hit an easy forehand drive-volley wide to gift Doi a match point. Although the 102nd ranked player in the world saved the match point, she crumbled to the pressure on the second match point to gift Doi the win after 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Next up for Doi

The Japanese would now face yet another compatriot in Risa Ozaki, who benefitted from a retirement from her first round opponent Sorana Cirstea to progress to the second round. Doi holds a 2-0 advantage in their head-to-head record and would be the favourite to reach the quarterfinals.

Misaki Doi represented Japan at the Rio Olympics last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images South America
Misaki Doi represented Japan at the Rio Olympics last year | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images South America
VAVEL Logo