Japan's Nao Hibino ended a four-year title drought Monday with a 6-4, 6-1 defeat of No. 4 seed and home favorite Linda Noskova at the Livesport Prague Open in the Czech Republic.
Hibino, 28, completed a rain-delayed 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-3 semifinal win over Romania's Jaqueline Cristian before taking down Noskova in 71 minutes.
Hibino converted five of seven break points against Noskova, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before losing 12 of the next 14 games.
Hibino, who became just the fifth lucky loser to win a WTA tournament, collected her third title following victories at Hiroshima in 2019 and Tashkent in 2015.
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Venus Williams put up a valiant effort, but No. 13 seed Madison Keys still cruised to a 6-2, 7-5 win in an all-American, first-round match in Montreal.
After taking the opening set rather easily, Keys needed nine match points to put Williams away. Keys finished with five aces to Williams' two and also saved three of four break points.
The Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova also pulled off an impressive victory, edging Lin Zhu of China 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-2. Pliskova, who was the runner-up in Montreal in 2021, racked up 11 aces in the two-hour, 22-minute match. She will face Polish No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek in the next round.
"You have to find that balance between playing risky, aggressive, but not too risky, not too much, because then (Swiatek's) not going to give you many points," Pliskova said. "Of course, that's going to be the most difficult part, to find what is too much and what is not enough."
Other winners Monday included Great Britain's Katie Boulter, 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, Romanian Sorana Cirstea, No. 16 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Italy's Jamine Paolini, Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic and Americans Sloane Stephens and Jennifer Brady.
—Field Level Media