Hobart R1: (3) Dominika Cibulkova vs Johanna Konta
Dominika Cibulkova and Johanna Konta will go head-to-head for the very first time on Monday afternoon where they do battle in the first round of the Hobart International. Dominika and Johanna both suffered disappointing early round exits last week and will therefore be desperate to avoid a first round exit in Hobart.
Dominika Cibulkova looms as the most dangerous unseeded floater at the Australian Open next week. It is important for Dominika to be very well prepared for Melbourne given she may face a top player in the first round, she is unlikely to have the luxury of playing herself into form against lower ranked opponents. This is why Hobart is particularly important for Dominika.
The Slovakian captured a typically gutsy three set first round victory over Yanina Wickmayer at the Brisbane International last week, however her tournament would end in the second round where she was thumped to Roberta Vinci 1-6 1-6. One weakness that really stood out in Dominika’s game last week was her serve, the Slovakian hit far too many double faults which put herself under a lot of pressure. Her groundstrokes generally looked good though, even in her loss to Roberta.
After such a positive ending to season 2015, Johanna Konta made a surprisingly poor start to her 2016 campaign last week in Shenzhen. The brit suffered a 3-6 6-3 3-6 loss to Qiang Wang in the first round. Konta will be very keen to pick up a confidence boosting victory in Hobart before heading to Melbourne.
I believe this will be a really good match-up for Dominika. The Slovakian will have Johanna covered from the baseline, the Brit will need to serve extremely well to remain competitive. Dominika has been in Hobart for a good amount of time and seems ready for a deep run at the event.