Indian Wells R2: (3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Dominika Cibulkova
The pick of the second round clashes at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday sees former finalist Agnieszka Radwanska come up against the always dangerous Dominika Cibulkova. Radwanska dominated the early part of the head-to-head series between these two, however over the past couple of seasons Radwanska and Cibulkova have built a very competitive rivalry with each other. This promises to be an extremely close match, a really tough match to call.
Agnieszka Radwanska has arguably been the most consistent member of the top 10 over the past couple of months. The Pole has reached the semi-final stage of 7 of her last 8 events and went on to win the title at 4 of those events. Aga’s 2016 form has been good but unspectacular, reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne and Doha where the Pole lost quite comfortably. Radwanska seems to be making a real effort to play less events this year and really focus on the bigger events. Aga has had a good couple of weeks to prepare for this event and will be confident she can go on another deep run in the Californian desert.
Dominika Cibulkova stormed through her opening round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, recording a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over Katerina Siniakova. The Slovakian produced a near flawless performance and is starting to gain some real momentum after a run to the final in Acapulco a couple of weeks ago. Cibulkova will see this second round clash with Radwanska as a big chance to gain a significant victory over a highly ranked opponent, an opponent Cibulkova has had recent success against.
Radwanska holds a 6-3 head-to-head record over Cibulkova. The Pole won the first 4 meetings between the pair but Cibulkova has won 3 of their last 5 matches including a memorable straight set demolition of the Pole at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open in 2014. Radwanska won the most recent match between the pair, an impressive 6-4 6-1 win in Tokyo late last year.
I’m leaning towards an upset occurring in this match. I feel like Radwanska is due for an early round loss whilst Cibulkova is due for a win over a top player. Furthermore, I think the conditions should help Cibulkova in this match-up, the relatively slow courts will give Cibulkova greater ability to dictate proceedings especially from her forehead side. Cibulkova has shown that she has all the weapons to hurt Radwanska and I think she will get the job done here in a really close match.