Kvitova makes winning start in Tokyo

Cibulkova ousts Safarova to set up a second-round match with Japanese teenager Osaka

Gulf News

Tokyo: Former champion Petra Kvitova stormed through her opening match at the Pan Pacific Open on Tuesday, beating American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-3 in a flurry of swashbuckling winners.

The 26-year-old Czech, twice a winner of Wimbledon, had too much firepower for Brengle in a match played under a closed roof due to typhoon rains in Tokyo.

Seventh seed Kvitova will next play Rio Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia overcame another Czech, Lucie Safarova, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 to set up a second-round match with fast-rising Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka.

“I have seen her (Osaka) play a few times,” Cibulkova said of Osaka. “She is tall and I know she has a powerful serve and is playing powerful tennis. It is always tough playing against these young players that are coming up,

“They are fearless and have nothing to lose. But I have played so many matches like this in my career and I just had a great win today against Lucie so I want to keep my confidence and play well.

“I know she (Osaka) is a good server but I don’t know what her favourite serve is and there is going to be some work for my coach today. It is going to be different tennis than today and there won’t be so many rallies.”

Meanwhile, Top seed Irina-Camelia Begu on Tuesday sailed into the Korea Open second round with an overwhelming win over South Korean wildcard entrant Jang Su-Jeong.

The 26-year-old Romanian, who is the world 23 and has won two titles at the Korea Open, ousted 186th-ranked Jang 6-2, 6-1 in 71 minutes in Seoul.

Begu is seeking redemption after suffering four consecutive first-round exits, including the Rio Olympics and the US Open, since winning the title at the WTA Florianopolis in July.

Begu will next play Jana Cepelova from Slovakia.

Second-seeded Johanna Larsson of Sweden defeated Grace Min of the US 0-6, 6-2, 6-2.

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