Hibino beats Jovanovic for place in Tashkent Open final

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) Donna Vekic of Croatia beat Evgenia Rodina or Russia 7-5, 6-1 Friday to set up a Tashkent Open final against Nao Hibino of Japan.

Vekic overcame two breaks of serve in the first set and stepped up her game in the second set, allowing Rodina to win just 15 points in a one-sided contest.

The 19-year-old Vekic won last year's Malaysian Open and has been ranked as high as 62nd in the world, but is now 137th after a disappointing season.

Vekic is 1-2 in career tour finals, including a loss in the final of the 2012 Tahskent Open to Irina-Camelia Begu.

In Hibino, she faces an opponent who is two years older and ranked 20 places higher but has played in the main draw of just two previous WTA events, both last month.

Hibino beat Bojana Jovanovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-4, staving off a late comeback after her opponent bounced back from 4-1 down to level the second set at 4-4.

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