Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Cibulkova to get first shot at US Open champ Osaka

TOKYO: Dominika Cibulkova will get her first crack at newly crowned US Open champion Naomi Osaka after squeaking into the last 16 of the Pan Pacific Open on Monday.

The beefy Slovak overcame the effects of jet-leg and pesky local qualifier Nao Hibino 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 to set up a potential slug-fest with Osaka in her first match since becoming Japan’s first-ever grand slam singles champion. “I’m still fighting with jet-leg but it’s going to be a tough match (against Osaka),” said Cibulkova after a surprisingly tough first match in Tokyo. “She has just won a major so I hope it’s going to be packed and I hope for a good match.”

Earlier, Spain’s former world number one Garbine Muguruza breezed into the second round, the sixth seed beating Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-4. In other first-round matches, Italian Camila Giorgi overpowered Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 while Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit floored Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 7-6.

Australia’s Daria Gavrilova will need a lengthy ice bath after a marathon 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 victory over Czech Kristyna Pliskova that went to 10-8 in the third-set breaker. Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki heads the field in Tokyo, where the Dane is bidding to win a third successive title and fourth overall.

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