Tokyo SF #2: (7) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Dominika Cibulkova
Saturday’s second semi-final at the Toray Pan Pacific Open sees former champion Agnieszka Radwanska come up against Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova. These two built up quite a rivalry in 2014, Cibulkova stunned Radwanska at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open and backed up that victory in Miami a couple of months later. This will be the first meeting between the pair in 2015 and it promises to be an extremely exciting contest between two ladies desperate for victory, both searching for their first title in 2015.
Agnieszka Radwanska is currently 12th in the live race to Singapore and simply must keep winning if she is to qualify for her fifth straight WTA Finals campaign. The Pole has made the perfect start to her Asian swing, recording three straight set victories on route to the semi-finals. The Pole outclassed CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round before defeating Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-1. Radwanska advanced to the semi-finals courtesy of a 7-5 6-2 triumph over Karolina Pliksova, the Pole’s fourth victory from four matches against the powerful Czech. Radwanska has served particularly well this week, the Pole’s serve has been broken on just four occasions throughout her first three matches in Tokyo.
Dominika Cibulkova is into her first semi-final of 2015. The Slovakian is certainly back to her best and will be a dangerous opponent to come up against over the next couple weeks. Cibulkova is also yet to drop a set this week, recording straight set victories over Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Carla Suarez Navarro and Ana Ivanovic. The Slovakian’s 7-6 6-3 quarter-final victory over Ana Ivanovic was particularly impressive, it was arguably Dominika’s best performance of the year. Dominika played a tactically sound match, dictating play from the baseline to set up a semi-final clash with Radwanska.
Agnieszka Radwanska holds a 5-3 head-to-head record over Cibulkova, however it was the Slovakian who emerged victorious in 3 of their last 4 encounters. Domi famously crushed Radwanska 6-1 6-2 at the semi-final stage of last year’s Australian Open. In their most recent match, Cibulkova won an epic 3-6 7-6 6-3 in Miami last year in what was one of the best matches of the year.
I’m going to side with Radwanska here, I think Aga is playing some very solid and consistent tennis this week and she knows that she must keep winning to qualify for Singapore. Cibulkova has also playing good tennis, however she has been a bit inconsistent and she can’t afford any inconsistency against Radwanska. The Pole can’t let this opportunity slip, a first title of 2015 is within touching distance.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Dominika Cibulkova in 3 sets