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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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 Sloane Stephens, U.S Open R2 Preview

US Open, ????? R2 Preview + Prediction
(11) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs ?? Sloane Stephens

One of the most exciting second round clashes in New York on Wednesday will see the 11th seeded Dominika Cibulkova take on in-form American Sloane Stephens. Cibulkova and Stephens both arrived in New York in great form, Stephens made the semi-finals in Montreal in Cincinnati whilst Cibulkova made the final in New Haven last week. Stephens holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Cibulkova, their most recent match was an epic in the Acapulco final last year which Stephens won in three grueling sets. This should be another exciting clash between Cibulkova and Stephens, two evenly matched opponents.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Daria Gavrilova, New Haven Final Preview

Connecticut Open, ???? New Haven preview + prediction
Final: (2) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs ?? Daria Gavrilova

The final match before all attention turns to the U.S Open promises to be an exciting one on Saturday as the second seeded Dominika Cibulkova comes up against Daria Gavrilova in the final of the Connecticut Open. Cibulkova and Gavrilova both claimed super-impressive semi-final victories on Friday evening and head into Saturday’s final full of confidence. Cibulkova will be aiming for her first title of the year whilst Daria Gavrilova will be fighting for her first ever WTA title. Cibulkova comfortably defeated Gavrilova in straight sets at Wimbledon last year in their only previous match, the New Haven final promises to be a much closer encounter between two feisty competitors.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Elise Mertens, New Haven SF Preview

Connecticut Open, ??? New Haven preview + prediction
SF #1: (2) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs (Q) ?? Elise Mertens

Dominika Cibulkova will be competing in her third semi-final of the year on Friday at the Connecticut Open. Cibulkova will be hoping it’s third time lucky as she aims to reach her first final of the year, standing in her way in Belgian qualifier Elise Mertens. Cibulkova and Mertens have had very different pathways to the semi-finals, Cibulkova has won a pair of tight matches whilst Mertens has already won 5 matches having come through the qualifying draw. This will be the first ever meeting between the pair.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Alize Cornet, New Haven R2 Preview

Connecticut Open, ??? New Haven preview + prediction
R2: (2) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs ?? Alize Cornet

Dominika Cibulkova and Alize Cornet will renew hostilities when they collide at the second round stage of the Connecticut Open on Wednesday evening. This will be the 10th meeting between the pair, matches between these two are usually high quality, fiercely contested encounters. As the second seed Cibulkova received a bye into the second round whilst Alize Cornet booked a meeting with Cibulkova courtesy of a 6-0 6-0 demolition of Yulia Putintseva.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Johanna Konta, Cincinnati R3 Preview

Western & Southern Open, ??? Cincinnati R3 Preview + Prediction
(7) ?? Johanna Konta vs (11) ?? Dominika Cibulkova

An exciting third round clash at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday evening sees the 7th seeded Johanna Konta come up against the 11th seeded Dominika Cibulkova. Konta and Cibulkova both cruised through their second round matches in Cincinnati. Konta defeated Kiki Bertens 6-3 6-3 whilst Cibulkova beat Alize Cornet 6-4 6-1. The head-to-head record between the pair is split at one win apiece, both matches took place on hard court last year. The scene is set for a high intensity, close match between two of the toughest competitors on tour with a quarter-final spot up for grabs in Cincinnati.

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Dominika Cibulkova vs Jennifer Brady, Wimbledon R2 Preview

Wimbledon ???? Day 3, R2 Match Preview:
(8) ?? Dominika Cibulkova vs ?? Jennifer Brady

Dominika Cibulkova survived an epic first round encounter against Andrea Petkovic on Monday, just edging past the German 9-7 in the third to break a string of four consecutive losses. Monday’s win may be exactly what Cibulkova needs to reignite her season, the Slovakian will look to build momentum and win back-to-back matches for the first time since Miami when she comes up against Jennifer Brady in the second round at SW19.

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