KAOHSUING, Taiwan – Misaki Doi’s finally roused her slumbering campaign to life on Monday with a straight set win over Kristyna Pliskova at the Taiwan Open.
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A miserable start to 2016 saw Doi fall at the first hurdle in Auckland, Hobart and finally the Australian Open. The third and final of these defeats Down Under was particularly galling, Doi holding a match point against eventual champion Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open.
Perhaps buoyed by Kerber’s subsequent heroics at Melbourne Park, Doi came out with a spring in her step against Pliskova, breaking serve twice to take the first set. She repeated the trick in the second set to wrap up a 6-3, 6-4 victory in little over an hour.
Also advancing in the bottom half of the draw was qualifier Yuxuan Zhang, a 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-2 winner over lucky loser Hiroko Kuwata.
Meanwhile, in the top half there were wins for Urszula Radwanska and Anastasija Sevastova.
Radwanska was given a stern examination by local wildcard Hsu Ching-Wen, before coming through, 6-4, 7-6(1). Sevastova was pushed even harder, fighting back to see off Kristina Kucova, 4-6, 7-6(0), 7-6(3), in a match lasting nearly two and a half hours.
Tuesday will see most of the remaining seeds, including home favorite Hsieh Su-Wei, in first round action. The only exception is top seed Venus Williams, who will wait until Wednesday to get her challenge underway against Lee Pei-Chi.