Fourth consecutive three-setter and fourth straight victory for Dominika Cibulkova! After ousting top seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open 6-4 6-7(3) 6-3, in her next three matches the Slovak always gave away the first set, against Caroline Garcia in the second round even without winning a single game.
In today’s quarterfinals, Cibulkova’s opponent Sorana Cirstea held on to the early break she earned and comfortably won the first set 6-4. The second set went with serve until the eighth game, when a bit of luck helped Cibulkova get the upper hand, while in the third set, after an initial exchange of breaks the momentum was absolutely on Cibulkova’s side, even though Cirstea did enjoy a late mini revival when she broke Cibulkova to love to approach her from 2-5 down to 3-5. However, the on-fire Slovak raced away with the match already in the following game, as wildcard Cirstea dropped serve once again. Final score: 4-6 6-3 6-3.
Cibulkova’s opponent in the semifinals will be world No.130 qualifier Louisa Chirico of the United States, who is projected to break the Top 100 following her spectacular run in Madrid, which included victories over Monica Niculescu, Ana Ivanovic, Daria Gavrilova, and a walkover win over Victoria Azarenka.
When it comes to Cirstea, one of four Romanians in the quarterfinals of Madrid, she has a lot to be happy about, having in mind that she started the year on the ITF Circuit and is still rebuilding her WTA status following her complex shoulder injury which forced her to change her service motion from full extension to abbreviated. The former world No. 21 Cirstea was ranked No.248 last November and now she’ll return to the Top 100. (photo: Jimmie48)