French Open: Dominika Cibulkova defeats Ana Konjuh to reach third round

French Open: Dominika Cibulkova defeats Ana Konjuh to reach third round

Dominika Cibulkova booked her place in the third round of the French Open with a three set victory over Ana Konjuh. The 2010 semifinalist blanked the Croatian in the final set to set up a clash with Carla Suarez Navarro next.

john-lupo
John Lupo

22nd seed Dominika Cibulkova booked her spot in the third round with a three set win over Ana Konjuh

Cibulkova jumps out to early lead, holds on to win first set

The Slovakian has had an excellent season, winning in Katowice and finishing runner-up in Acapulco. Her superiority showed early on, breaking Konjuh straightaway to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Undaunted, the Croat broke back, but her momentum was short-lived as the 22nd seed broke again, Konjuh's backhand going long and her advantage was restored, leading 3-1. She quickly extended her edge to 5-1, a precise forehand forcing a weak lunge from Konjuh. Surprisingly, the Slovak wobbled, her double break gone in a flash, Konjuh battling back to 5-4, including saving nine set points, six of them coming in a 21-point eighth game. Cibulkova used her guile to brush aside her missed chances, breaking Konjuh to take the set 6-4.

Dominika Cibulkova started strong, winning the first set against Ana Konjuh/Julian Finney/Getty Images
Dominika Cibulkova started strong, winning the first set against Ana Konjuh/Julian Finney/Getty Images

Konjuh forces third set after solid second set victory

Konjuh's powerful strokes can blow almost anyone off of the court and she used them to great effect to break Cibulkova to open the second set. Her lead, which had grown to 2-0, quickly evaporated, a failed drop shot handing Cibulkova the break back. The Croat was soon back on the front foot, another break coming her way after a well-executed crosscourt backhand giving Konjuh a 3-2 lead. The set went on a routine path until 5-3 when Konjuh sealed the set with a break, Cibulkova double faulting at 0-40, the Croat taking the middle frame 6-3 and leveling the match at a set apiece.

Konjuh won the second set to force a deciding third set/Julian Finney/Getty Images
Konjuh won the second set to force a deciding third set/Julian Finney/Getty Images

Cibulkova serves up bagel in final set, advances to third round

Cibulkova took a break between sets two and three, likely to regroup after such a poorly played second set and the timeout seemed to steer her back in the right direction, losing just 11 points in the set. She converted on her second break chance of the opening Konjuh service game and never looked back. Another break came for a 3-0 lead and the rout was well and truly on. By 4-0, the 2010 semifinalist was in cruise control and a netted Konjuh forehand put Cibulkova on the brink of victory. She had little trouble closing the match out, winning her last service game at 30 to seal the win and send her to the Round of 32.

Suarez Navarro challenge awaits next

Cibulkova's Round of 32 opponent will be 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro, who had a much easier time in her match, defeating China's Qiang Wang 6-1, 6-3. The Slovakian has won three of their four previous meetings with this one being their first on clay.

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