The first semifinal of the Mutua Madrid Open is an interesting one, with unseeded Dominika Cibulkova looking to make her biggest final in several years, takes on qualifier Louisa Chirico, who is looking to make her first WTA final.
So far in Madrid
It hasn’t been an easy road for the in-form Cibulkova, though she has done extremely well to get this far. She began by knocking out top seed Agnieszka Radwanska, prevailing in three sets, and then came from 0-6, 0-3 down to beat Caroline Garcia in another tough match. Furthermore, she also came from a set down in victories over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and then Sorana Cirstea in the quarterfinals today. She may be slightly tired, but she’ll be full of confidence.
Chirico has also had to play a lot of tennis, coming through qualifying, and started well in the main draw with a straight sets win over Monica Niculescu. She backed that up with a three-set win over 14th seed Ana Ivanovic, and the went into the quarterfinals after 5th seed Victoria Azarenka withdrew. However, she didn’t rest on her laurels, beating Daria Gavrilova in straight sets to reach the last four. She too will be confident.
Naturally, Cibulkova has more experience at this level and that could help her, though she should look to try and make this match easier than her previous matches in Madrid. The Slovakian has served well so far and should look to continue to do that, though she must be careful to not make too many errors; her aggressive style means this can happen if she isn’t quite at her best. Also, there is a lot of pressure on Cibulkova to do well here, and it will be interesting to she how she deals with that.
In contrast, there is less pressure on Chirico, though this is still a good opportunity for her and she may be a little nervous. It is certainly more important for her to get off to a quick start, and she should look to play just as well, if not better, than she has so far. Furthermore, she must try and take every break point opportunity she gets and must look to try and dictate play, using her power and height to do this.
Head to Head
Not surprisingly, this will be the first meeting between the two, with almost 100 places between them in the rankings. It will be interesting to see which of the two is able to exploit the weaknesses in the other’s game first.
With both women playing well and confident, we could well get a tight clash here and not many would be surprised if that happens. Chirico has had a great week and this is certainly a big chance for her, though Cibulkova has more experience and arguably a stronger game than the American; it looks like the Slovakian could edge this.
Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova in three sets