Cincinnati R1: Flavia Pennetta vs Dominika Cibulkova
After impressive results in 2014, Flavia Pennetta and Dominika Cibulkova have both struggled in 2015. Pennetta’s form has been up and down whilst Cibulkova yet to get going after a long spell on the sidelines. Both ladies have thrived on the North American hard courts in the past and will be looking to gather some momentum in Cincinnati with the final Grand Slam of the year just around the corner.
Flavia Pennetta has struggled for consistency in season 2015, unable to replicate her 2014 heroics. The Italian’s Rogers Cup campaign was cut short by Serena Williams last week. Pennetta advanced to the second round with a comfortable victory over Dabrowski, setting up a meeting with the world number 1. Flavia took the first set of a sluggish world number 1, however Flavia was no match for Serena once she got going, failing to win a single game in the final set.
Dominika Cibulkova broke a string of four consecutive losses last week with a solid 6-3 6-4 victory over Sloane Stephens in the opening round at the Rogers Cup. It was a promising performance by the Slovakian however she was unable to back it up in the next round. Domi was surprisingly outplayed by Alize Cornet in the second round, suffering a disappointing 3-6 2-6 defeat.
In one of the most bizarre head to head records on the tour, Flavia Pennetta has won the last five encounters against Cibulkova. However the pair haven’t played each other since 2012. Cibulkova will be eager to avoid a sixth consecutive loss to the Italian. This is a tough one to call, but given the head to head record and the Slovakian’s recent struggles, I have to go with Pennetta to grind out a tough victory.