Acapulco Final: Dominika Cibulkova vs (2) Sloane Stephens
A blockbuster final in Acapulco on Saturday evening sees former champion Dominika Cibulkova come up against American Sloane Stephens. Whilst the draw has fallen apart in Doha and left a bizarre final between Suarez Navarro and Ostapenko, the draw in Acapulco has held up well and we are left us with an extremely exciting final to look forward to between two very evenly matched players. The head-to-head series between Dominika and Sloane is split at 1 win apiece, it will be interesting to see who emerges victorious in Acapulco.
Dominika Cibulkova has maintained her unbeaten record in Acapulco this week, reaching her first final since Kuala Lumpur in 2014 by advancing to the final in Acapulco for a second time. The 2014 Acapulco champion started the week with a bang, thrashing Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-0 6-0 before receiving a walkover in the next round courtesy of Victoria Azarenka’s unfortunate withdrawal from the event. Cibulkova was forced to come from a set down in her quarter-final match with Johanna Larsson, ultimately the Slovakian emerged victorious by claiming a 3-6 6-3 6-3 win. Dominika’s most impressive performance of the week thus far came at the semi-final where she defeated Christina McHale 6-3 6-3. The Slovakian seems to be peaking at the right stage of the event and will be confident heading into Saturday’s final.
Sloane Stephens has waltzed through the draw in Acapulco after a slow start to the event. The American was extremely close to a first round exit but rallied to record a 1-6 6-3 6-3 win over Louisa Chirico. Sloane has been relatively untroubled since her first round scare, picking up straight set victories over Olga Govortsova, Naomi Osaka and Yanina Wickmayer. Sloane secured her place in Sunday’s final with a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over Yanina Wickmayer but will undoubtedly face a much tougher test when she comes up against a determined Cibulkova.
The pair have traded victories in their two previous encounters. Sloane defeated Dominika in straight sets in Brisbane back in 2013 whilst Cibulkova won their most recent clash 6-3 6-4 at the Rogers Cup last year. This is a very even match-up on paper between two ladies that have very similar strengths. Both are excellent movers whilst also being extremely powerful given their relatively small height. Experience is on Dominika’s side heading into this final and that may give her a slight edge. Dominika looks extremely determined this week and is always going to be very tough to beat in a big match when she is in such a mood. I suspect Dominika will be good enough to get the victory here in a really close match, her confidence to go for broke on big points will be critical.