Women’s Wimbledon 2016, 4th Round Preview: Agnieszka Radwanska v Dominika Cibulkova

Cibulkova

A solid contender for the best WTA match-up of the year, Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova will meet for the fourth time in 2016 on Monday. If their recent form is anything to go by, this could be a fabulous fourth round match…

Radwanska’s last outing on court 3 was a 7-5 6-4 win over Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round of Wimbledon last year. I remember it because it was a sensational match where Radwanska wielded her wand with some magical play. Scheduled on court 3 again on Saturday, Radwanska produced a superb performance to defeat Katerina Siniakova, 6-3 6-1. Radwanska dropped just 12 points on her serve during the 62 minute contest and finished with stats of 19 winners to 7 unforced errors. There were some incredible points, of which a handful are linked below.

It was a far cry from Radwanska’s last match against Ana Konjuh where she saved three match points to survive a dramatic second rounder where her opponent went over on her ankle towards the end. While Radwanska did have to save those match points, she was a tad fortunate to survive and even said in press about walking to the net when one of Konjuh’s shots on match point hit the net (it ended up landing on Konjuh’s side). Surviving that match and still being in the tournament will likely have calmed and settled her and no doubt, made her stronger. There have been several occasions this year where players who have survived match points have gone onto to do well – Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open is the prime example of 2016 (and that’s topical as Angie plays Misaki Doi on Monday!).

Cibulkova is looking super confident right now and is into the second week of Wimbledon having not dropped a set through a pretty dicey looking draw. Cibulkova has navigated her way past Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (7-5 6-3), Daria Gavrilova (6-3 6-2) and Eugenie Bouchard (6-4 6-3). After spending several months on the sidelines during the first half of 2015 to have surgery on her achilles, Cibulkova showed glimpses during the second half of 2015 of the form that had seen her reach the Australian Open final back in 2014.

Cibulkova showed more encouraging signs at the start of 2016 as she came so close to the upsets of Agnieszka Radwanska and Garbiñe Muguruza in Indian Wells and Miami respectively, but just couldn’t get across the finish line. However, since winning the title in Katowice (her first title since Acapulco in 2014), Cibulkova’s big strokes have been matched with a growing self-belief and steely mental resolve. Cibulkova is looking back to her very best…

Head-to-head record: Radwanska leads Cibulkova, 7-5 in their head-to-head. Of particular note, the pair have played each other three times in 2016 with all three encounters going to three sets. Radwanska saved a match point in Indian Wells (6-3 3-6 7-5) but Cibulkova has won their two most recent encounters in Madrid (6-4 6-7(3) 6-3) and just last week in Eastbourne (4-6 7-6(2) 6-3).

Interesting stat: Cibulkova has reached the final at three of her last five tournaments, winning Eastbourne and Katowice, but also making the final at the Premier Mandatory tournament in Madrid. By virtue of her recent form, Cibulkova is up to number 7 in the Race to Singapore.

Final thoughts: Radwanska has already skated on thin ice at this tournament so that may prepare her well for the match and take some of the pressure off. I’ve always gone for Radwanska in this clash but I think i’m edging slightly towards Cibulkova this time round. The Slovak player has looked so confident and has that ability to hit a plentiful stream of winners past Radwanska. The match against Konjuh may give Radwanska renewed impetus of what she needs to do, to play aggressively and with variety to stop Cibulkova finding a rhythm with her groundstrokes. A zoning Cibulkova will be tough to stop.

Tough to make a call because their matches this year have all been so close. Sit back and enjoy, this could be awesome…

Photo in this post by mootennis.com

6 thoughts on “Women’s Wimbledon 2016, 4th Round Preview: Agnieszka Radwanska v Dominika Cibulkova

  1. I thought Cibulkova would fall early because of burn out and yet here she is. In fact you could argue that thus far she’s really been the dominant player in the womens competition. So it’s hard to bet against her.

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    • True, Andrew, but Aga clearly really wants this one. She knows that Wimbledon’s her best chance of a slam and the one where she plays best (just as the AO has been Domi’s until this year) and there are very promising younger players coming up behind her. She’s said that she believes she has to win it within the next couple of years if she’s to win it at all.

      Notwithstanding that, I think Domi’s title in Eastbourne will have encouraged Domi to aim high when playing on grass from now on; it’s been her weakest surface in the past. I think if both players rise to the occasion (and I expect they will) it’ll be too close to call.

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      • Wanting isn’t always enough. And I don’t think anyone wants this title more than Serena does…

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      • She’s not alone in this pursuit, I know of six other in form grass players who have this belief too.

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  2. Domi played very well and won, Aga had her chances but Domi was very good. It was a good match overall. I really thought Aga would win this after having lost to Domi two times in a row. US Open has never been her slam so I guess Aga’s year is kind of over in terms of slams.

    Didnt see the match but Coco lost to Pavs? Lol. I never saw Coco as a contender her but never thought she would lose to Pavs.

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