Monday, 13 March 2017

Cibulkova d Kr Pliskova in thriller

Daylight saving began on the West Coast, and the stars came out to greet the moment at the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California.

Novak Djokovic needed to bring most of his best in order to quell a determined and quality performance from Kyle Edmund.  The second seed won in straight sets but the first set was only decided by a service break in the opening game, and the second set went to a tie break.
Things don't become any easier for Novak, his third round opponent being Juan Martin del Potro.  Delpo defeated fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis to set up a replay of the Acapulco clash just over a week ago.

Nadal, Nishikori, Federer and Kyrgios all had comfortable victories, but sixth seed Marin Cilic fell to young American wildcard Taylor Fritz after winning the first set.
Not so good for another American, Sam Querrey, who suffered a let down following his Acapulco triumph, losing to Donald Young.  At least for local fans, the loss was to another American.

Third round women's matches mostly went to plan, with Karolina Pliskova (3) finding a way past Irina-Camelia Begu, in spite of herself.  The wonderful serve was broken three times, and placed Pliskova in precarious positions throughout the match.  Fortunately for her, Begu gave back enough opportunities, including 17 break points, only four of which were converted, enough though for victory.

Svitolina, Muguruza and Kuznetsova won with varying degrees of difficulty, but 11th seed Johanna Konta failed her French test, and Caroline Garcia said au revoir.

The best tennis was saved for the last match of the night, with the remaining crowd treated to one of the finest matches of 2017.
Kristyna  Pliskova, yet to achieve the heights of her sister, but improving all the while, began her match against fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova as if she was the world number three.
Winning all but one point on her first serve, and consistently outplaying Cibulkova in their exchanges with punishing ground strokes, Pliskova broke twice and wrapped up the first set in a flash.

The left handed sister was ahead 5-3 in set two and preparing, it seemed, for fourth round action against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, when Cibulkova said no.  With her renowned Slovak grit and basic tennis smarts, Domi reduced the potency of the Czech serve and gained control of more rallies.  The break back occurred and a tie break too.

Cibulkova won the tie break, and the third set was stirring stuff.  Cibulkova broke early but Pliskova struck back immediately and then it was service holds from both until 4-5. Cibulkova, serving to stay in the match, had a number of game points but was thwarted on each occasion before Pliskova gained a match point.
It was saved and eventually the fifth seed levelled at 5-5.

Cibulkova broke to lead 6-5, but couldn't serve it out, and another tie break resulted.
Eventually it was Dominika Cibulkova, who prevailed on the third of her match points.
2-6 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

Kristyna Pliskova hit 54 winners and Dominika Cibulkova 41.
However the killer statistic was the 23 break points for Pliskova, 18 of which were saved by Cibulkova, who proved that she can win when perhaps she shouldn't.

Irrespective, this was just the third round and it felt like a match at the end of the tournament such was the quality.

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