It’s Lucie Safarova and Dominika Cibulkova’s eighth meeting on tour. Who will win in this highly-anticipated encounter?
Lucie Safarova (No.36) vs (4) Dominika Cibulkova (No.4)
Overview: Lucie Safarova has already racked up 14 wins this season. Starting the year at a lowly ranking of No.62, the Czech slowly built up the ranking points, first with a semifinal appearance at Taipei City, falling to Peng Shuai, and a final performance in Budapest, losing to Timea Babos. In last week’s Indian Wells, she beat two quality opponents, Lara Arruabarrena and Coco Vandweghe, before falling to Venus Williams. She has been even more dominant in Miami, dismantling Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-2 before dispatching Alja Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-1.
Dominika Cibulkova has failed to reach to the heights she achieved in 2016, having not made a final this year so far. She failed to win back-to-back matches at Brisbane and Sydney, fell to Ekaterina Makarova in the third round of the Australian Open. She failed to take her revenge in Dubai, losing to Makarova once again. Semi-final finishes at St. Petersburg and Doha boosted up her points but it wasn’t fantastic tennis Cibulkova played in both touaents. Cibulkova again couldn’t find her form in Indian Wells, falling in three sets to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She had since then cruised in Miami, winning both of her matches in straights.
Head to head: They have met seven times previously, with Cibulkova leading the rivalry 5-2. On hard courts, they are tied at 2-2.
Thoughts: Safarova’s lefty serve and trickery may help her to snatch a set away, but I’m going with Cibulkova for this. She is playing well and the fighter Slovakian should be able to move Safarova around with her forehand and take control of the match.
Prediction: Cibulkova to beat Safarova in three