PRAGUE: Japan’s Nao Hibino completed a fairytale journey from lucky loser to champion as she beat Czech teenager Linda Noskova in straight sets on Monday to win the rain-hit Prague Open.
Hibino, 28, swept aside fourth seed Noskova 6-4, 6-1 in the final disrupted by rain.
She added a third WTA title to her previous wins at Tashkent in 2015 and Hiroshima in 2019.
Her time to shine NAO HIBINO ✨🏆 pic.twitter.com/0W1xsi3ZAV— Livesport Prague Open (@livesportprague) August 7, 2023
“I’m really grateful to have made it to the final today,” said Hibino.
“It was a tough week with all the rain.”
The final had to be suspended when Hibino, the world number 136, was 4-1, 30-0 up in the second set because of rain plaguing the tournament since Saturday.
Hibino already had to complete her semi-final against Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian on Monday morning, but she only spent five minutes on the court.
The rain washed out Saturday’s programme and the semi-finals were postponed to Sunday, which were further delayed due to rain.
Noskova, 18, managed hers in straight sets, while Hibino’s semi-final was suspended after five hours and three disruptions with the Japanese player leading 5-2 in the third set.
In windy and chilly conditions, the 71st-ranked Noskova started the final brilliantly and took a 3-0 lead, but Hibino came back fast.
More patient throughout the match, Hibino took the first set with a break of serve and then cruised on to take the honours as Noskova kept piling up errors, double-faulting on match point.