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 started her New Haven campaign with a typically gutsy 2-6 6-2 6-4 win over Alize Cornet. Cibulkova looked down and out on several occasions, most notably when she trailed 2-4 in the deciding set. From there, Cibulkova raised her level to win 4 straight games and close out the match. The second seed secured her spot in the semi-finals with a 7-5 6-4 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. It was a roller-coaster win for Cibulkova over Pavlyuchenkova, the difference was that the Slovakian was too tough in all the important moments.

Elise Mertens is having one of her best weeks of the season in what has been the 21-year-old’s breakthrough year. Mertens won three matches to progress through the qualifying draw in New Haven. In the main draw, the Belgian has claimed a couple of impressive wins, firstly Mertens came from a set down to defeat Kiki Bertens before beating Daria Kasatkina 6-2 7-5. Mertens received a lucky break on Thursday as Shuai Zhang was unable to compete in their quarter-final clash, Mertens received a walkover into the semi-finals and a well needed rest.

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This is a first time match-up and it should be fairly competitive match. The edge has to go to Cibulkova. Now that Cibulkova has gotten through a couple of tough matches this week, she is hardened and ready to raise her level at the business end of the event. Mertens is a very solid player, the Belgian hits well off both sides and has great movement. However, I think Cibulkova does most things better than Mertens and the Slovakian also has experience on her side. Expect a determined Cibulkova to pull through this one.

Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova to defeat Elise Mertens in 3 sets

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