Aryna Sabalenka vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Roland Garros R1 Preview

🇫🇷🥖💶 Roland Garros, R1 Preview
🇧🇾 (11) Aryna Sabalenka vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

A blockbuster opening round match-up at Roland Garros sees the 11th seeded Aryna Sabalenka comes up against the always-dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. This is arguably the toughest opening round match-up in the draw, a match-up that one could expect to see in the second week of a Grand Slam rather than the opening round. Sabalenka and Cibulkova are both fierce competitors and will relish the early challenge, who will prevail?

Aryna Sabalenka arrives in Paris on the back of a solid run to the semi-finals in Strasbourg last week. Sabalenka entered Strasbourg in desperate need of wins given she had lost back-to-back opening round matches in Madrid and Rome. Sabalenka claimed a couple of commanding wins in Strasbourg before succumbing to Dayana Yastremska in straight sets. Whilst Sabalenka enters Roland Garros as the number 11 seed, she is very inexperienced at the event, she has never won a main draw match in Paris and this will be just her second main draw appearance at Roland Garros.

Conversely, Dominika Cibulkova is very experienced in Paris. Cibulkova made it to the semi-finals in Paris all the way back in 2009 and has won 21 matches at the tournament over the years. Cibulkova’s form in 2019 has not been great but she often finds a way to raise her level for the majors. Cibulkova has reached the final 8 at a Grand Slam on 8 occasions and has frequently claimed upset wins early in majors. Will Sabalenka be her next victim?

It was Sabalenka who won the only previous match between the pair, a 7-5 6-3 win at the quarter-final stage in Wuhan last year.

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Victoria Azarenka vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Miami R1 Preview

🇺🇸🐬 Miami Open, R1 Preview
🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

Victoria Azarenka and Dominika Cibulkova will go head-to-head in the pick of the opening round matches at the 2019 Miami Open. Azarenka and Cibulkova are both ranked well below their best at the moment for a variety of reasons and will see this opening round match-up as a great opportunity to gain much needed momentum as the season heats up.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action during her second-round match at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Azarenka has shown signs of a form reversal in recent times. The former world number 1 made a solid run to the Acapulco quarter-finals last month before contesting an epic second round match with Serena Williams in Indian Wells a few weeks ago. Though Azarenka lost out to Williams in straight sets, the match was certainly a step in the right direction for Azarenka given she arguably played the best tennis we have seen from her in the last couple of years in what was one of the best matches of the season thus far.

2019 has been a real struggle for Cibulkova. The Slovakian has won just 1 match this year and desperately needs to turn things around as soon as possible. To be fair, Cibulkova has been dealt some brutal draws this year, just as she has in Miami with this first round clash against Azarenka. Cibulkova arrives in Miami on the back of an opening round exit in Indian Wells where she was comfortably beaten by the eventual champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets.

Azarenka and Cibulkova are familiar foes, however they haven’t gone head-to-head much in recent times. Azarenka holds a 7-3 record over Cibulkova, but it was Cibulkova who won their last couple of matches, including a 6-2 3-6 6-3 win at the Australian Open in 2015 in their most recent meeting.

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Jelena Ostapenko vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Wimbledon QF Preview

Wimbledon QF Preview
🇱🇻 (12) Jelena Ostapenko vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

The pick of the quarter-final matches on Tuesday at Wimbledon sees the 12th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on a red-hot Dominika Cibulkova. This is an exciting match-up between two fairly similar players, two of the most fiery players on tour, with aggressive, powerful games from the baseline. Cibulkova won both of the previous meeting between the pair, but that was before Ostapenko became a Grand Slam champion and top 10 player. Cam the Latvian capture her first win over the Slovakian?

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Ostapenko and Cibulkova has both blasted their way through the draw, reaching the quarter-final stage without dropping a set. Ostapenko and Cibulkova are two players that are extremely tough to stop when they are in this type of form, making this match-up an exciting prospect if both maintain their a-game.

It is Cibulkova who has had the far tougher draw to this stage. Cibulkova has beaten Alize Cornet (7-6 6-1), Johanna Konta (6-3 6-4), Elise Mertens (6-2 6-2) and Su-Wei Hsieh (6-4 6-1) on route to the final 8. This is the first time everything has come together nicely for Cibulkova of court in 2018, serving well, returning well and deadly from the baseline. If Cibulkova can maintain such a high level of tennis then she is a genuine contender to win the title.

Jelena Ostapenko has also been impressive but has not faced any significant threat on route to the quarter-finals stage. Ostapenko claimed wins over Katie Dunne (6-3 7-6), Kirsten Flipkens (6-1 6-3), Vitalia Diatchenko (6-0 6-4) and Aliaksandra Sasnovich (7-6 6-0) to secure back-to-back appearances in the final 8 at Wimbledon. Ostapenko trailed Sasnovich 2-5, down a double break, before she managed to fight back and run away with the match in the second.

Cibulkova holds a perfect 2-0 H2H record over Ostapenko. The pair met on grass in Eastbourne in 2016, Cibulkova won that match 6-3 6-3. Their most recent match was at Indian Wells last year, Cibulkova won 6-4 3-6 6-3 in a high quality clash.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs. Su-Wei Hsieh, Wimbledon R4 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R4 Preview
🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs. 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

One of the most fascinating clashes on Manic Monday at Wimbledon sees Dominika Cibulkova come up against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh. Cibulkova and Hsieh have both defied the odds to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon, the pair both beat a couple of seeded opponents on route to this stage and enter this fourth round clash full of confidence. Cibulkova heads into this match as the favourite but Hsieh is coming off a huge win over the world number 1 and will fancy her chances of an upset.

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Dominika Cibulkova has blasted her way through to the round of 16 without dropping a set. Cibulkova has beaten 3 quality opponents, victories over Alize Cornet, Johanna Konta and Elise Mertens have seen her through to the second week at Wimbledon for the third time in her career. Cibulkova was the unlucky player that was bumped from a seeded position when Serena Williams was granted the 25th seed, however, it is now turning out to be a blessing in disguise for the Slovakian who is relishing her underdog status.

Su-Wei Hsieh continues to her reach new heights in 2018. At the age of 32, Hsieh is into the second week at Wimbledon for the first time. Hsieh started her campaign with a 3 set victory over the 30th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before comfortably beating Lara Arruabarrena in straight sets. Hsieh made her biggest move at third round stage where she saved match points to defeat world number 1: Simona Halep 3-6 6-4 7-5, the biggest win over Hsieh’s career thus far.

Cibulkova holds a perfect 2-0 record over Hsieh, both of those victories were in straight sets. The most recent match between the pair took place last year at the Australian Open, a tough 6-4 7-6 win for the Slovakian.

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Johanna Konta vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Wimbledon R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R2 Preview
🇬🇧 (22) Johanna Konta vs. 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

The pick of the second round match-ups on Thursday at Wimbledon sees British number 1 Johanna Konta take on the always-dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. This is a tough early round test for both ladies, both have made it to the final stages of Grand Slams in the past and would both be deeply unsatisfied with a second round exit. Who can step up their game and claim a big early round scalp?

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in action during her first round match at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Konta came through a dramatic opening round clash at SW19. The 22nd seed was seemingly cruising to a fairly straightforward victory when she led Natalia Vikhlyantseva by a set and a break but things got complicated on route to a 7-5 7-6 victory. Konta saved a couple of set points at 4-5 before squandering a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak, eventually sealing the victory on her 6th attempt. Konta made it all the way to the semi-finals in London last year, the pressure is on Konta to replicate that run as the only real British hope in the women’s draw.

Dominika Cibulkova is two-time former quarter-finalist at Wimbledon and is in desperate need of a deep run at a major to revitalize her career. The Slovakian has had an unspectacular season but is as determined as ever to turn things around. Cibulkova started her Wimbledon campaign with 7-6 6-1 victory over Alize Cornet. Cibulkova was down for most of the opening set but once she fought back to take the set in a tiebreak she completely overpowered Cornet in the second, a good win for the 29-year-old.

Konta holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Cibulkova. The most recent match between the pair took place in Cincinnati in 2017, Konta claimed a 6-3 6-4 win on that occasion. This will be their first career meeting on a grass court and their first meeting at a Grand Slam.

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Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Strasbourg SF Preview

🇫🇷 Internationaux de Strasbourg, SF Preview
🇷🇴 (4) Mihaela Buzarnescu vs. 🇸🇰 (5) Dominika Cibulkova

Mihaela Buzarnescu and Dominika Cibulkova will go head-to-head for the first time at the WTA tour level when they meet in Friday’s first semi-final in Strasbourg. This is a critical match for both, for different reasons. Buzarnescu is still searching for her first career title at this level whilst every win for Cibulkova is big as she continues to gain momentum after some recent poor form.

Buzarnescu started the week with a hard-fought 3 set win over Magda Linette from a set down. Since that match Buzarnescu has been relatively untroubled, claiming straight set wins over Elena Rybakina and Su-Wei Hsieh. The Romanian will be aiming to reach her third final of the year having never previously reached a WTA tour level final before 2018.

Cibulkova has cruised into her second semi-final of the year without dropping a set. The Slovakian started the week with comfortable wins over Chloe Paquet and Reka-Luca Jani before claiming a noteworthy 6-4 6-3 win over defending champion Samantha Stosur, one of the Cibulkova’s better wins in 2018.

It will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out, the first between the two at this level.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Kaia Kanepi, Australian Open R1 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R1 Preview
(24) 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs 🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi

A fascinating opening round clash at Melbourne Park on Monday sees the 24th seeded Dominika Cibulkova come up against the dangerous, in-form Estonian Kaia Kanepi. Cibulkova and Kanepi both had good preparation leading into the first Grand Slam of the year. Kanepi reached the quarter-finals in Brisbane whilst Cibulkova reached the quarter-finals in Sydney. This is a tough opening round match-up, one of the toughest in the draw.

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Cibulkova, a former finalist at the Australian Open, started her 2018 campaign in Sydney last week where she reached the quarter-finals. Cibulkova started her Sydney campaign with straight set wins over Anastasija Sevastova and Elena Vesnina but was no match for Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals. The eventual champion beat Cibulkova 6-3 6-1.

Kaia Kanepi started her 2018 campaign in perfect fashion. Kanepi made it through the qualifying draw, winning all 3 matches in straight sets. Kanepi then went on to beat Kasatkina and Tsurenko in the main draw before squandering a set and a break lead against Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals. It was a great week for Kanepi who showed again that her best tennis is still very, very dangerous.

Kanepi holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Cibulkova. It has been a long time since these two played, most recently it was Kanepi that won 6-4 7-6 on clay in Brussels in 2013.

Dominika Cibulkova vs Angelique Kerber, Sydney QF Preview

Sydney International 🇦🇺🦈 QF Preview
🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova vs 🇩🇪 Angelique Kerber

A blockbuster quarter-final clash at the Sydney International sees Dominika Cibulkova and Angelique Kerber renew hostilities. Cibulkova and Kerber have built up quite the rivalry over the years, the head-to-head record between the pair heading into this exciting quarter-final match is split at 5 wins apiece. Angelique Kerber has been the form player on tour to start the new year having won all 6 of her matches including 2 impressive wins in Sydney over quality opponents. Kerber will face perhaps her biggest test of the summer thus far when she comes up against the feisty Slovakian on Thursday.

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Dominika Cibulkova has been very impressive this week in Sydney. Cibulkova did not compete last week and arrived in Sydney under pressure to perform well amidst a very tough draw. Cibulkova took down the in-form 8th seeded Anastasija Sevastova in the opening round with a clinical 6-3 6-1 victory. Cibulkova was not as consistent in her 6-4 6-4 second round win over Elena Vesnina but the Slovakian raised her level at the business end of each set to ensure she navigated her way through with a straight set win.

Angelique Kerber’s resurgence continues to gain momentum. Kerber arrived in Sydney in great form having won all 4 of her singles matches in straight sets last week at the Hopman Cup. In Sydney, Kerber has not necessarily been playing as well, certainly not as consistently but she has battled her way to a couple of 3 set wins over very difficult opponents. Kerber started the week in Sydney with a 6-7 7-6 6-2 win over Lucie Safarova, Kerber saved 2 match points in the second set tiebreak. In the second round, Kerber looked down and out after losing 4 consecutive games to drop the opening set. However, the German rallied to claim a 5-7 6-3 6-1 win over the veteran American. Two important wins for Kerber.

As mentioned above, the head-to-head record between the pair is split at 5 win apiece. Kerber has had the better of Cibulkova In recent times having won 5 of their last 6 matches. However, it was Cibulkova who won their most recent match, a 6-3 6-4 victory in the final of the 2016 WTA Finals in Singapore, the biggest win of Cibulkova’s career.

Elena Vesnina vs Dominika Cibulkova, Sydney R2 Preview

Sydney International 🇦🇺🦈 R2 Preview
🇷🇺 Elena Vesnina vs 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

Elena Vesnina and Dominika Cibulkova both started their 2018 seasons with commanding first round victories in Sydney. Vesnina cruised past Lara Arruabarrena whilst Cibulkova smashed the 8th seeded Anastasija Sevastova. These two have a long history, the head-to-head record between the pair is level at 4 wins apiece, who will edge ahead in Sydney and reach the quarter-final stage?

Elena Vesnina was originally scheduled to start her season against Shuai Peng in the opening round in Sydney but the Chinese player withdrew prior to their match handing Lara Arruabarrena a lucky loser spot. Vesnina was far too good for the Spaniard, winning 6-2 6-2. Vesnina’s serve was not broken as she won over 80% of points behind her first serve. Vesnina will face a far tougher test when she comes up against Dominika Cibulkova who also rocketed through her opening match in Sydney.

Dominika Cibulkova got her 2018 campaign off the to the perfect start by claiming a commanding 6-3 6-1 win over Anastasija Sevastova. It was a tight opening to the match but Cibulkova’s relentless hitting from the baseline eventually got the better of the Latvian. Cibulkova was extremely clutch throughout the match, saving all 9 break points she faced.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. Cibulkova has had the better of this match-up in recent times having won 3 of their last 4 matches, including a 6-3 6-3 win in their most recent match in St. Petersburg last year. All 4 of Cibulkova’s wins over Vesnina were on a hard court.

Anastasija Sevastova vs Dominika Cibulkova, Sydney R1 Preview

Sydney International, R1 Preview
(8) 🇱🇻 Anastasija Sevastova vs 🇸🇰 Dominika Cibulkova

Dominika Cibulkova will begin her 2018 season with a difficult test against the 8th seeded Anastasija Sevastova. This is an important match for Cibulkova, she will want to get a few matches under her belt before heading to the Australian Open next week. Sevastova arrives in Sydney in good form having reached the semi-finals at the Brisbane International last week. This is a tough first round match-up between two top 30 players.

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Anastasija Sevastova had a good week in Brisbane but ultimately ended in disappointing fashion. Sevastova cruised through to the semi-finals with straight set wins over Sam Stosur, Sorana Cirstea and Aleksandra Krunic before suffering an upset loss to Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the semi-finals.

Dominika Cibulkova’s 2017 season was disappointing. The Slovakian will be hoping for a lot better in 2018, the former Australian finalist usually plays good tennis at the start of the year, Cibulkova will need to start strong in Sydney or she will be facing an immediate exit.

The only previous match between the pair took place way back in 2010. A 2-6 6-1 6-2 win for Sevastova in Beijing in 2010. This is an interesting match-up between the crafty, consistent Latvian and the hard-hitting Slovakian. Who will prevail?