Dominika Cibulkova scored a big win in the last match on Sunday, edging Jelena Jankovic in a close first round encounter, 6-1 1-6 6-3. After two almost identical sets, Cibulkova played a really positive and aggressive final set. As is often the case, the Slovak player benefitted from serving first in the decider. After exchanging a pair of breaks early in the third set, it was tough to see who would prevail. Cibulkova scored a pair of impressive holds at 2-2 and 3-3, and then took advantage of a really lapse service game from Jankovic to go up *5-3. Cibulkova was rewarded for being bold and served out the match, saving a break point in the final game.
There was one funny moment in the second set when Cibulkova had a complete air shot… her reaction was great!
Screencap from TennisTV coverage
It’s a shame that Cibulkova has landed into arguably the toughest quarter which also features Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki and her second round opponent in Kerber. Cibulkova v Kerber will be a tight match if there head-to-head is anything to go by with Cibulkova leading 4-3. Domi won their first four matches between 2008 and 2013, three of them in three sets. Since then, Kerber has been on a roll and won all three of their 2014 clashes. Furthermore, they were all in straight sets including a 6-3 6-0 thrashing in Tokyo last year.
While Cibulkova has been out for a large chunk of 2015, she’s playing pretty solid tennis right now. Kerber performed well in Tokyo and Wuhan, reaching the quarter-finals (l. to Wozniacki) and the semi-finals (l. to Muguruza) respectively. Kerber’s steady level is tough to beat for most players but she’s been missing that spark over the Asian Swing that takes her game to another level. This could be down to fatigue because she has played a lot of tennis, but she’s still in the running to qualify for Singapore. After being an alternate last year, there must be motivation to be in the top eight this time round. Cibulkova’s positivity helped her get the win over Jankovic and the same attitude will give her a real shot against Kerber. I think it’s pretty close to being a 50-50 match but i’m just leaning towards Kerber.
Should be a good one!
Prediction: Kerber d. Cibulkova in 3 sets