Coming into the 2016 Australian Open, Kristina Mladenovic has since lost in the first round in the two tournaments she has played this year. She was up against Dominika Cibulkova who has had good runs in Australia for the past two years and was last year’s quaterfinalist. The Slovakian had also won all five of their previous meetings. Not the start the number 28th seed would have wanted, but she handled the draw and match really well. She played her brand of attacking tennis to register her first singles win of the year in straight sets.
A Set Of Powerful Returns
Mladenovic started the match off and won her first point with some good exchanges with Cibulkova. The Frenchwomen did not serve well enough and gave Cibulkova her first break points in the first game of the match. However, she saved them with some good serves and forehands and sealed the game with an ace. And then it was Cibulkova who gifted break point with a double fault. She too saved it to make it 1-1.
Both players hit some good returns making it difficult for each other to hold serve. Mladenovic’s serve was under threat again as it was her turn to hit a double fault. Cibulkova was aggressive on her serve but failed to break as Mladenovic held serve again. With all the break points coming in, someone was bound to break and it was the Frenchwoman who got the first break in the fourth game. She was unable to consolidate though as she immediately lost serve.
After the sit down, Mladenvic came firing again to break again and this time continued on to consolidate the break as well to lead 5-2. Cibulkova hung on but Mladenovic went on to serve out the first set 6-3.
Closer Second Set But Mladenovic Seals Victory
Mladenovic got off to a wonderful start in the second set leading 3-0 with some great offensive play. Cibulkova was not going down without a fight as she continued her aggressive returns. A simple volley error from Mladenovic handed break point to the Slovakian who grabbed it to get one break back trailing 3-1.
The match progressed on serves with the Frenchwoman particularly impressing with her forehands. Last year’s quarterfinalist had no look in as Mladenovic recorded her first singles win of the year sealing the victory 6-3 6-4. This was also the 28th seed’s first win over Cibulkova and she was clearly elated.
“I'm happy the way I was very offensive and I applied the perfect tactic”, said the Frenchwoman after her win.
She faces qualifier Nicole Gibbs next in the second round.
Despite her poor first serves percent of 50, Mladenovic won 73 percent of those serves. In contrast, Ciblukova whose first serve percentage was 56, won only 56 percent of them. The Frenchwoman also hit a good nine aces to Cibulkova’s one. Mladenovic hit nine winners as well, eight more than Cibulkova.