2017 French Open player profile: Dominika Cibulkova

Former world number four Dominika Cibulkova won the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals in Singapore last year. The Slovak also won titles in Katowice, Eastbourne, and Linz. Along with runner-up finishes in Acapulco, Madrid, and Wuhan. However, 2017 hasn't gone according to plan for Cibulkova so far but she will be hoping to turn around her form at the French Open.

Notable results to date

Cibulkova has a dismal 13-10 win-loss record on the WTA tour, this season, which is poor for a player of her caliber. The diminutive Slovak has had a whole host of early round exits in 2017 despite some bright spells. Cibulkova had a poor season Down Under. She lost to Alize Cornet in the quarterfinals in Brisbane and to Eugenie Bouchard in the second round in Sydney. The 2014 Australian Open runner-up returned to Melbourne, looking for a deep run at the first Grand Slam of the year. She defeated Denisa Allertova and Su-Wei Hsieh in straight sets before losing to 2015 semifinalist Ekaterina Makarova in the third round, which culminated a poor campaign Down Under for the 28-year-old. Cibulkova went on to reach back-to-back semifinals at the Premier events in St.Petersburg and Doha. However, she suffered losses to Yulia Putintseva and Karolina Pliskova respectively. Makarova defeated the world number seven for the second time in a space of a month in the second round in Dubai.

The former world number four was looking to improve her form at the back-to-back North American hard court Premier Mandatory hardcourt events in Indian Wells and Miami. She survived Jelena Ostapenko and Kristyna Pliskova in her opening two matches in three-set clashes. Moreover, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova sent her packing in straight sets in their fourth round encounter in Indian Wells. Cibulkova thrashed Veronica Cepede Royg and Kirsten Flipkens in her opening two matches in Miami but she fell at the fourth round hurdle for the second successive event losing to Lucie Safarova.

Cibulkova was unable to replicate her dream run to the final of the Australian Open in 2017 (Photo by Quinn Rooney / Getty)
Cibulkova was unable to replicate her dream run to the final of the Australian Open in 2017 (Photo by Quinn Rooney / Getty)

Clay Court results leading up to Roland Garros

The Slovak was hoping that her fortunes would improve when she transitioned from hard to clay courts. She returned to the Mutua Madrid Open as the defending finalist. Despite beating former world number one Jelena Jankovic in the first round, she lost to Oceane Dodin in the second round. More misery ensued for Cibulkova at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. She lost to Makarova for the third successive meeting in three sets at the Foro Italico. Her form is worrying heading into the French Open but she will be hoping to have a kind draw to get through to the second week at the bare minimum.

Best French Open result

The reigning WTA Finals champion's best run at the French Open was in 2009 when she advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal at Roland Garros.

Cibulkova was seeded 20th at the second Grand Slam tournament of the year in 2009. She defeated Alona Bondarenko in three sets in the first round. The Slovak dispatched Kirsten Flipkens, Gisela Dulko, and Agnes Szavay to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the age of 20. She thrashed future two-time French Open champion Maria Sharapova, 6-0, 6-2 to reach the semifinals. Unfortunately, Cibulkova's run at the French Open was halted in the semifinals as she lost to top seed Dinara Safina, 6-3, 6-3.

Since her run to the semifinals in 2009, Cibulkova's next best finish in Paris was in 2012, when she advanced to her second quarterfinal at the French Open. The Slovak's run to the quarterfinals was impressive. She was seeded 15th, and she recorded straight sets victories over Kristina Mladenovic and Vania King in her first two rounds. She also defeated Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the third round. Cibulkova's biggest result at the tournament was when she defeated reigning Australian Open champion, and world number one Victoria Azarenka to reach her second quarterfinal in Paris. In the quarterfinals, Cibulkova's run was ended at the hands of 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur.

Cibulkova recorded a fine victory over Sharapova in 2009 to reach her solitary French Open semifinal (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty)
Cibulkova recorded a fine victory over Sharapova in 2009 to reach her solitary French Open semifinal (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty)

How Cibulkova's game translates to the surface

The Slovak's serve is one of the weakest aspects of her game which gets punished by big hitters. On the other hand, Cibulkova is a good returner as she has an aggressive style. Her movement is exceptional on all three surfaces, and she has reached the quarterfinals or better at all four Slams. The former world number four doesn't hesitate to come to the net to finish off points with a swing volley. She punishes second serves with quick forehands and quick returns. Sometimes in long-extended rallies, she will throw in a drop shot to confuse her opponents. Despite, being diminutive, Cibulkova is able to get around the court very well. She will be hoping that her season improves at a wide open French Open.