Dominika Cibulkova and Carina Witthoeft faced off against each other for an opportunity to progress in the tournament. This match was the first time the two players had met, so there was also the chance for either player to get one over on their opponent.
The match was very closely fought throughout, with two of the three sets being decided by a tiebreak. It was Cibulkova who eventually found a way to edge her opponent as she came from behind to defeat her opponent and progress in the tournament.
Witthoeft Wins First Set Via A Tiebreak
Cibulkova served to open the match, and quickly found herself behind. The Slovakian could do nothing to stop Witthoeft from capitalizing on her first break point of the match. Witthoeft did not hold the lead for long though, as Cibulkova broke back in the very next game. After a shaky start, both players soon found their feet in the match. In the next four games Cibulkova and Witthoeft held their service games with ease, Witthoeft managed to not drop a single point in either of the games she served in.
Neither player faced another break point until the seventh game. Witthoeft raced to a 40-15 lead but Cibulkova battled off both of her opponents chance to take the game. However, Cibulkova gifted the German with a third chance to break her serve. This time around Cibulkova could not save the break point and found herself behind once again.
Witthoeft failed to consolidate the break of serve for the second time in the match. The German found herself 40-0 down in the game and despite her best efforts she could not save all three of the break points, which allowed Cibulkova to level the score in the set. Both players broke each other again in the ninth and tenth games, to take the score to 5-5.
After an exchange of breaks, Cibulkova steadied the ship with a strong hold to love. Witthoeft needed to hold her serve to prevent Cibulkova from taking the set. The German did not crack under the pressure of serving for the set as she comfortably held her service game, to take the first set to a tiebreaker.
The tiebreak followed the path of the set, with both players battling hard and exchanging breaks. After a tight battle where Witthoeft and Cibulkova both had the lead, it was Witthoeft who prevailed. The German failed to capitalize on her first set point, before she quickly got herself back into a position to win the set. Witthoeft eventually took the set with her second break point, despite Cibulkova's best efforts.
Cibulkova Rallies To Take The Second Set
After losing the first set, Cibulkova was determined to get herself back into the match. The Slovakian started the second set strongly, as she broke Witthoeft before holding her serve to put herself 2-0 up. Witthoeft got herself on the scoreboard as she won her service game before having two opportunities to break Cibulkova in the fourth game. Unfortunately for Witthoeft, Cibulkova managed to save both break points and eventually held her service game.
In the sixth game, Witthoeft did level the score in the set. The German capitalized on her third break point opportunity to break Cibulkova and put the set back on serve. Like in the first set, one break of serve sparked another and Cibulkova broke straight back. Cibulkova took advantage of some poor play by Witthoeft to take her second break point chance and put herself ahead again. The Slovakian's lead did not last long though, as she failed to consolidate the break. Cibulkova gave her opponent an opportunity to break straight back, and Witthoeft made the most of this opportunity as she took the game.
Cibulkova got the decisive break in the ninth game. The Slovakian broke Witthoeft on her first opportunity, to put herself in a position to serve for the set. Whilst serving for the set, Cibulkova nearly cracked under pressure, due to Witthoeft putting up a strong fight. The German prevented Cibulkova from taking the set twice before putting herself in a position to break. Unfortunately for Witthoeft, Cibulkova was too strong and she fought off the break points before taking the set on the third time of asking.
Tiebreak Needed To Determine The Winner Of The Match
After two close sets, it was difficult to call who was going to win the match. It was Witthoeft who got the upper hand as she raced to a 3-0 lead. The German started the set with a strong hold of serve and then went on to break Cibulkova, with her second break point opportunity. In the third game, Witthoeft consolidated the break, after preventing Cibulkova from breaking her.
Cibulkova eventually got herself on the scoreboard, after holding her serve in the fourth game. The Slovakian found herself 40-0 down in the set, which gave Witthoeft three opportunites to extend her lead in the set. Cibulkova fought off all of the chances Witthoeft had, before going on to take the game. Witthoeft held to love, which quickly put Cibulkova back on serve.
In the seventh game, Cibulkova leveled the score. The Slovakian raced to a 40-15 lead and this time around Witthoeft could do nothing to prevent Cibulkova from break her. The remainder of the games of the set, went in the direction of the player who was serving. Neither player lost more than two points on their service games and after an exchange of holds, the set was taken to a decisive tie break.
Cibulkova won the tie break with relative ease. The Slovakian raced to a 5-1 lead, before Witthoeft briefly got herself back into the tie break by winning the next two points. In the end though Cibulkova was too strong for the 21-year-old. Cibulkova fought off Witthoeft to take the tie break 7-3, winning the match on the first time of asking.
After overcoming a tough battle against Witthoeft, Cibulkova progresses into the second round of the tournament. Cibulkova will face wildcard Elizaveta Kulichkova.