L&T Mumbai Open: Hibino subdues flashy Lisicki

Sabine Lisicki succumbed to a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 loss to Nao Hibino in the first round of the L&T Mumbai Open on Tuesday.

Nao Hibino advanced to the second round of the L&T Mumbai Open with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Sabine Lisicki in the first round.   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury

Sabine Lisicki unleashed her thunderous serves and powerful game with the intention of intimidating her Japanese opponent Nao Hibino, who is second ranked Japanese after US Open champion Naomi Osaka.

However, the plan did not work as she succumbed to a 6-3, 3-6, 4-6 loss in the first round of the $ 125000 L&T Mumbai Open.

Sabine, who entered the tournament as a WTA wildcard, was flashy and flamboyant and showed glimpses of her talent during the course of a pulsating tie that lasted a little more than three hours.

While the 29-year-old former Wimbledon finalist impressed the sparse crowd in the stand reserved for the Cricket Club of India members and media, her display was on the fringe of erratic right through the match and cost her a longer presence in the tournament which was postponed by a day to accommodate the fourth ODI between India and West Indies at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday.

Sabrine Lisicki in action at the L&T Mumbai Open on Tuesday.   -  Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury


The contest between a big server and the No.8 seed Hibino ended with Sabine seeing her back-hand return crash into the net.

Sabine won the first set in 34 minutes, but her overall approach, not showing the slightest hints of slowing down, resulted in the Japanese ranked 123 --- 118 places behind Naomi Osaka in the WTA ranking list --- gain control of the match. Hibino won the second set in a little over 38 minutes and pushed the match to a deciding third set.

The decider featured an interesting tussle in the seventh and eighth games, with Hibino winning a duel at the net. Sabine did not relent, but eventually lost to an opponent who played within her limitations. Sabine sent down six aces, but committed eight double faults on serves. Hibino committed fewer errors and won more points on her first serve and also on the return of serves, which proved to be the difference.

"I played her in Taipei earlier this year when she came back from injury and I was not aggressive then, but this time I was prepared and attacked her from the start. Breaking her early in the first set proved crucial as I had imbalanced her game and was able to move her around the court. She has got one of the best serves and I stood deep in the baseline to tackle her serves which gave me an edge,'' said  Hibino.

In another first round match Israel's Deniz Khazaniuk beat the No. 3 seed from USA, Sachia Vickery. The American retired trailing 1-5 in the third set.

Later in the day, India's Ankita Raina fought back doggedly to beat Rutuja Bhosale 4-6, 6-2 7-6 (5) and move into the second round.

Results (1st round): Deniz Khazaniuk (ISR) bt Sachia Vickery (USA) 6-2, 7-5, 5-1 (retd); Dalila Jakupovic (SLO) bt Veronika Kudermetov (RUS) 6-4, 6-1; Bibiane Schoofs (NED) bt Jana Fett (CRO) 6-3, 6-2; Jia-jang LU (CHN) bt Ivana Jorvic (SRB) 5-7, 6-1, 6-1; Sabina Sharipova (UZB) bt Misaki Doi (JPN) 6-1, 7-6; Valentini Grammatikopoulu (GRE) bt Kwan Yau NG (HKG) 6-0, 6-2; Nao Hibino (JPN) bt Sabine Lisicki (GER) 3-6,6-3,6-4; Barbora Stefkova (Czech Republic) bt Tereza Martincova (Czech Republic) 6-4,6-4; Ekaterine Gorgodze (GEO) bt Sophia Shapatava (GEO)  6-2,6-4; Irina Khromachava (RUS) bt Hiroko Kuwate 6-1,6-4, Ankita Raina (IND) bt Rutuja Bhosale (IND) 4-6, 6-2 7-6 (5)


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