Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cibulkova in thriller

Sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova reached the final of the 2014 Aus Open, and won the WTA Finals Billy Jean King trophy in November.  Her from coming into Melbourne this year was scratchy, but she won her first round match against Denisa Allertova in straight sets.  Her second round opponent is from Chinese Taipei, Su-Wei Hsieh, who defeated Karin Knapp in the first round, following Knapp's retirement when she was trailing 3-6 0-2.

A very long opening game tested Cibulkova with a number of winners hit from both sides by Hsieh, before Dominika was able to steady and hold for 1-0.

Then two remarkable games.  Hsieh hit four clean winners to hold serve.  Another four were struck to break the Cibulkova serve to love,

The errors came just as the winners refused to continue and Dominika happily took advantage, breaking back, and then holding for a 3-2 lead.

A Cibulkova drop shot when Hsieh was way behind the baseline, somewhere near the Fitzroy Gardens, brought up break point which was successfully converted for 4-2.
However, smart tennis in turn from Hsieh secured a return break and games were back on serve at 3-4.

Both players held serve and it fell to Hsieh at 4-5 to ensure the set continue beyond ten games.  Cibulkova played the perfect return game, and although she failed to use the set points at 15-40, she was all over the next one and locked away the vital first set 6-4.

The first two games of set two were good for the servers, but the third game, eventually won by Cibulkova as server, was one of the best games for the match, filled with quality shot making by each player, and a number of exciting exchanges.
2-1 to the sixth seed.

Taken to deuce, Hsieh was unfazed and she held serve, as did Cibulkova, still unrelenting in her commitment to inflicting as much damage to a tennis ball as she can with one swing of a racquet. 3-2.

The break came, unexpectedly, given the evenness of the contest in the set to this point, in the sixth game, with the power of the Cibulkova ground strokes in sync with her precision, giving Hsieh little chance of competing in this purple patch.
5-2 in an instant, service game held to love with three scintillating forehand winners.

Hsieh made it 3-5, finding a couple of lines for winners and introducing an elegant drop shot success.

Dominika had two match points, but 2 brilliant return winners and a backhand sizzler to end an amazing rally helped Hsieh break the Cibulkova serve and keep her in the match. 4-5.
Still obviously rattled, Cibulkova hit a few forehands well long and Hsieh held serve easily, the last drop shot to win the game a stand out. 5-5.

Cibulkova stemmed the tide to once again take the lead 6-5, but Hsieh took the set into a tie break. 6-6

The tie break was intriguing and both players had opportunities, but Dominika Cibulkova finally won 10 points to 8 and the match 6-4 7-6 (8).

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