St Petersburg R1: Dominika Cibulkova vs Evgeniya Rodina
Dominika Cibulkova will begin her St. Petersburg campaign on Wednesday when she comes up against Evgeniya Rodina in the first round. Dominika made an extremely disappointing first round exit in Melbourne and as a result her ranking has plummeted to number 66 in the world. Dominika will see this event as a prime opportunity to give her ranking a much needed boost, Dominika is more than capable of beating anyone in the draw this week.
Dominika looked set for a deep run at the Australian Open having arrived fresh off a semi-final appearance in Hobart where she lost a very competitive match to Eugenie Bouchard. However, Dominika was handed a reasonably tough draw and was unable to get past Kristina Mladenovic in the first round where she lost in straight sets. A reoccurring theme for Dominika during the entire Australian summer was that she really struggled to hold serve, particularly in important moments.
The next couple of months are important for Dominika, she has little points to defend given she was sidelined by injury for much of the first half in 2015. The Slovakian needs to dramatically improve her current ranking and push towards being seeded for Roland Garros. It is a big jump in the rankings from 66 but it is certainly within reach. A strong run in St Petersburg would be a good start.
Dominika will head into her first round match as the strong favourite against Evgeniya Rodina. However, it was the Russian who emerged victorious in their only previous encounter but that was way back in 2005. It is quite amazing that there will be over 10 years between the first and second time they have played.
Dominika should be far too good here, the Slovakian is a couple of classes above Rodina and will see this as a good opportunity to gain a confidence boosting win. Rodina is in terrible form having lost all three of her matches in 2016 thus far, there is nothing to suggest the Russian can come close to causing an upset here.