Dominika Cibulkova and Caroline Garcia clashed for the first time in the second round at the Mutua Madrid Open. Cibulkova was looking to back up her upset of the top seed in the previous round, while Garcia had the chance to at least equal her previous third round showing.
It was all Garcia in the first set as she breezed through to grab the set 6-0. Having the lead in the second set, Garcia then let the lead and set slip away from her and Cibulkova came firing back to force a decider. A tight affair in the third set dramatically ended on a double fault in the penultimate 10th game as Cibulkova wrapped up a 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback victory.
Garcia gives no room in a commanding first set performance
Garcia got an early chance to break but Cibulkova did well in their baseline rally to save the break point. The Frenchwoman though was still applying pressure and got another break point with a forehand winner and a subsequent double fault gifted the Frenchwoman the break. Garcia was in control as she cruised to a 3-0 lead in the opener.
Cibulkova was in all sorts of trouble facing triple break point as she struggled to get in a groove. The net cord caused the Slovakian to send her shot into the net allowing Garcia to run away with a commanding 5-0 lead as she consolidated the double break. Cibulkova had three game points to finally get herself on board but was pegged back to deuce by a confident Garcia. The Frenchwoman unleashed a fiery return winner to set up set point which she took with aplomb, sealing the set with her 12th winner.
Cibulkova comes firing back winning 6 games in a row
Everything was falling apart for the Slovakian as another error strewn game handed Garcia an early advantage in the second set. Garcia was barely putting a foot wrong, serving well and closing out points with authority, going on to win her ninth game in a row for a 3-0 lead. Her deep returns were also bothering the Slovakian, but Cibulkova eventually won a game to stop the rot.
That service hold seemed to breathe new life into Cibulkova, who had double break point after errors from Garcia. The dropshot from Slovakian did the damage as she got the break back to get herself back in the match for 2-3. Cibulkova strung together a run of her own, winning her third straight game to level the set 3-3.
The tide was truly turning as Garcia’s level dropped, giving the Slovakian another couple of break opportunities. She gave it away in disappointing fashion, hitting a double fault as Cibulkova took the lead for the first time at 4-3. The Slovakian was fired up, winning her game with ease forcing Garcia to serve to stay in the set. With pressure mounting from Cibulova, Garcia faltered as the Slovakian closed out the second set winning six games on the trot.
Garcia falters in the end in a tight third set
Normal service was restored as both players began the deciding set with service holds. The match had tightened up considerably with neither player looking to buckle as the match progressed on serve. The set was reaching its climax as Cibulkova went ahead 5-4 on serve to put pressure on Garcia. The Slovakian pounced on Garcia’s second serve with a booming return to set up match point. The Frenchwoman faltered when it most mattered firing her third double fault, enabling Cibulkova to complete her comeback victory in stunning fashion.