Tag Archive | "Cibulkova"

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Safina Snaps Up Back-To-Back Title

The Rogers Cup final, a tier I tournament, was a contest between the experienced Russian Dinara Safina and the novice Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova. Safina’s steadiness was too much for her 19 year-old counterpart; Dinara cremated Cibulkova 6-2, 6-1.

Although there were flashes of brilliance from Cibulkova, the result never seemed in doubt. After holding serve to commence the proceedings, Safina broke her opponent to take 2-0 lead. After falling behind 1-5, Cibulkova hoped to turn things around as she had done with Jelena Jankovic, coming back from that exact deficit to win the set. After giving Cibulkova an opening as she served for the match and being broken, Dinara took advantage of Dominka’s service problems to take the set.

Under pressure at deuce the first game of the second set, Safina threw in consecutive aces to close out the game. After breaking Cibulkova, Safina went down break point which she erased with a second serve ace, then replicated another ace to seal the game for a 3-0 lead. Mainly a defensive player, Cibulkova failed to get many errors from Safina. The 2008 French Open Finalist continued to play smart tennis, pressuring Dominika to go for low percentage shots. After breaking Safina, Cibulkova lost her serve at love to go down 1-5. Serving for the match, Safina did not stumble and went on to make a second serve ace to seal the victory.

To make it to the finals, Cibulkova crushed Elena Dementieva in the second round, Nadia Petrova in the third round, Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals and Marion Bartoli in the semifinals. Cibulkova’s ranking will leap from 31 to 20 while Safina’s will creep up a notch to 7. With this win, Dinara tops the standings for the U.S Open series bonus money. The Rogers’ Cup is Safina’s second tier I title of the year.

At the Nordea Nordic Light Open in Sweden, a tier IV hardcourt tournament, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark crushed Russia’s Vera Dushevina in the finals 6-0, 6-2.

Maria Sharapova aggravated a previous shoulder problem in Montreal and will be sidelined for the Olympics and U.S. Open. Ana Ivanovic suffered a thumb injury during the tournament but should be present in New York. By losing to Tamira Paszek in the third round, Ivanovic will cede the number one ranking to countrywoman Jankovic.

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Maria Sharapova Conquers The Clay In Florida

After bypassing the Sony Ericsson Open due to injury, Maria Sharapova bounced back by winning the first clay court tournament of her career at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, a tier II event. Sharapova defeated Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-3.

The one-week affair commenced on April 7. The main singles’ draw showcased 64 players, 8 from the top 20 along with other prominent names such as Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo. Regrettably, last year’s champion, Tatiana Golovin was unable to attend after undergoing surgery in March to extract a cyst from her hip as well as an appendectomy. In addition, past winners Venus Williams and Elena Dementieva withdrew due to health reasons.

As a first time participant at this event, Sharapova utilized this as a preparatory step to Roland Garros, as she begins her quest to win her first French Open. Unlike a ballerina, Sharapova is heavy footed on clay. For the world’s number 5, movement was clearly an issue in her matches, as Sharapova needed three sets in the third round and the quarterfinals to advance against Annabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine respectively. This is keeping in mind that the highest ranked player Sharapova faced was Bondaranko at 22. Maria received a walkover in the semifinals when past tournament champion, Davenport, was unable to play due to a viral illness. On Sunday, Sharapova took on Cibulkova who turned out to be a problematic opponent despite being ranked 34 in the world. This eighteen year old has been steadily climbing in the ranking. This week proved quite a confidence booster with Cibulkova having wins over Anna Chakvetadze ranked 7 in the world and former world number one, Amelie Mauresmo.

In the finals, even though Sharapova obtained the lead early on in the first set, she was broken and a tiebreak was required to determine the set’s owner. In the tiebreak, the Slovakian had chances to put away the set. Cibulkova even got a freebee when Sharapova’s foot touched the net as she hit a winning volley, that mistake cost Maria the point. But unforced errors by Cibulkova put the Russian back on top and gave her the set. In the second set, Cibulkova broke Sharapova in the initial games, but subsequently renounced the lead. In the match, a significant tipping point was Cibulkova’s weak first serve; she only won 58% of the points despite serving at 65%. On the other hand, Sharapova had more than twice as many winners (38 to 14) and won 70% of her first serve points. With only two other top ten players in the draw, it is hard to judge how well Sharapova will do versus more natural clay court players such as Justine Henin. Yet, having added this trophy to her case will surely enhance Sharapova’s belief that she can conquer the “terre battue”.

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