Dominika Cibulkova -30- (SVK) def Anastasia Pavyluchenkova -22- (RUS) 76(8) 64
Dominika and Anastasia launched main-draw play on center court at the Qatar Total Open, and the two cranked-out one of the tastiest appetizers the tournament has ever seen. After trading breaks to start the match, both held serve through the tiebreak, where Cibulkova jumped-out to a 4-0 lead, eventually earning it 10-8.
Five games into the second, Dominika found herself up two breaks. Pavyluchenkova earned one back, but Dominika protected serve the rest of the way and delivered the win in two.
Last year’s Semifinalist was back in Doha, and she meant business.
Dominika Cibulkova. From World #5 to World #30
Since her Semifinal run in Doha last February, Dominika has dropped 25-spots in the rankings. Aside from a Finalist run last Summer in New Haven, 2017 wasn’t her best season. Meanwhile, Anastasia enjoyed her career-best season, winning three titles in four finals. No doubt, the 1st-Round exit in Doha is frustrating result for the World #22.
Up Next: Caroline Garcia
Caroline Garcia in now the World #7 and playing some of the best tennis of her career. She finished 2017 by winning back-to-back titles in Wuhan and Beijing, then reached the Semifinals in her WTA Finals debut. She has momentum.
Dominka and Caroline have each won one of their previous matches. They last met 5-months-ago, in Wuhan’s Round of 16, where Garcia won in straight-sets and went on to claim the title.
Dominika Cibulkova -30-
At 28-years-old, this aggressive ball-striker owns 8 WTA Singles titles; and last Summer in New Haven, reached her 29th career Singles final. In 2016, she captured the title at the year-end WTA Finals in Singapore, defeating World #1 Angelique Kerber in the championship match, and finished the season ranked inside the top-5 for the first time. Then, last February, she reached the Semifinals in both St. Petersburg and here in Doha, climbing to a career-high ranking of #4 in the World. An Australian Open Finalist in 2014, she’s the first woman from Slovakia ever to reach the championship match at a Major. Competing in her 6th Qatar Total Open, from Slovakia – Please welcome back, 2017 Semifinalist Dominika Cibulkova
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova -22-
This 26-year-old enjoyed a career-best season last year, winning 3 WTA Singles titles in 4 Finals, earning a year-end ranking inside the top-15 for the first time. In Monterrey, she captured the title with her first career victory over a World #1, defeating Angelique Kerber 6-1 in the deciding-set. She now owns 11 WTA Singles titles in all, has appeared in 17 career Finals, and has reached the Quarterfinals of all four Majors. A 3-time Fed Cup Finalist and member of her country’s Olympic team, her consistency is extraordinary. Since 2008, for 10-years straight, she has never dropped out of the WTA’s top-50. Making her 4th Qatar Total Open appearance, from Russia – Please welcome, Anastasia Pavyluchenkova