Cibulkova gives no room to Azarenka in the French Open fourth round


Dominika Cibulkova was determined, precise and in control during most of the match against world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, to eventually oust the top seed 6-2 7-6(4).

In both sets Cibulkova outplayed Azarenka and in both sets the Slovakian got to lead 4-2, only that in the first set she quickly capitalized on the lead and broke Azarenka’s serve once again in the tenth game to take the set, while in the second set Cibulkova let the lead slip away, from 4-2 to 4-5 and allowed Azarenka to come in the position to serve to level the match . However, the 15th-seeded Cibulkova saw nothing but the victory and continued to humble and frustrate Azarenka by breaking her for 6-6 and then finishing the job in the tiebreak on the second match point. The ratio of winners to unforced errors speaks for itself: Azarenka’s was 19-25 (i.e. -6), Cibulkova’s was 28-20 (i.e. +8).

The 2009 Roland Garros semifinalist proved that she’s a mighty force at this year’s claycourt Grand Slam. Her quarterfinal opponent will be either 2010 Roland Garros runner-up Samantha Stosur or young gun Sloane Stephens. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)


  1. Dominika played some amazing tennis, she served so well, and won the battle from the baseline. For the first time since very long ago, Vika couldn’t handle her emotions, she got mad and broke her racket.

  2. Not quite unexpected, I dare say. Azarenka was unduly hyped up as the new, “necessary” (?) alpha-female on the Tour (after the earlier choice for the role, Kvitova, failed to fulfil the expectations). Yes, for some time our Vichka has had a very good run, but she had also been outplayed a number of times (off the top of my head: by Barthel, twice, Cibulkova, twice, and now by Brianti in the first round…), and she had won those matches simply because her opponents had failed to close them out – not because of her own superiority. Yes, she seemed to be mentally tough – but so was Wozniacki (who, in my opinion, is much tougher), but mental toughness, though much, is not all: on the dizzy heights of being the world No. 1, it needs the support of a full, well-rounded, flexible game. For, sooner than later, any holes therein shall be found out, exposed and taken advantage of – as Cibulkova just demonstrated.
    Now, there is one aspect where Azarenka *is* the top of the crop: her desire to win – winning seems to be just about everything to her – and that desire can easily become destructive to one’s game and, consequently, to oneself. Now, when was the last time anyone noticed any trace of real joy in playing the game, on Azarenka’s face (or any other part of her)? I myself don’t recall. Yes, there’s a whole lot of joy – when she’s winning; but that’s all. And now compare, for instance, Petra Martić’s post-match interview on RG website, where she talks about her loss to Angelique Kerber and that joy of playing that she was able to find only in the second set. It speaks volumes.
    P.S. In light of my recent posts, i.e., so as not to be seen as one obsessed with PM: Ana Ivanović has recently spoken of her rediscovered joy in the game. That does not mean (although it may) that Ana will become No.1 again, of course, but it also speaks volumes: it’s very hard, if not impossible, to be No. 1 for long if one’s sole motivation is, well, to be/remain No.1… And it’s right that way. For it’s the spirit of the game that matters – something I, admittedly, am obsessed with.


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