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Cibulkova upsets Kuznetsova, top seed Wozniacki beats Sharapova for the first time

Dominika Cibulkova at the 2010 US Open

Dominika Cibulkova reached her second US Open quarterfinal in two years by upsetting eleventh seed and 2004 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the fourth round. Later, top seed Caroline Wozniacki recorded one of the most significant victories of her career by defeating Maria Sharapova for the first time and by building on the momentum gained in the previous three rounds of the US Open in which the Dane lost a total of just three games. The two winners will face each other in the quarterfinals.

Despite a fragile thigh and being down in both sets, the world No.45 Cibulkova defeated Kuznetsova in straight sets, 7-5 7-6(4). The Slovakian could have finished the match earlier, as she served for the second set at 5-3, but Kuznetsova saved two match points and the set went to a tiebreak. The Slovakian didn’t let her opportunity slip away and won that tiebreak to deny Kuznetsova her 101th Grand Slam victory. During the match Kuznetsova made 42 unforced errors and double-faulted 10 times. Caroline Wozniacki at the 2010 US Open

Here’s what Cibulkova said afterwards:

I was really pumped for this. I knew I could make it and that I could beat everybody in this tournament. I still feel like that.

The fourth round match between last year’s US Open runner-up Wozniacki and 2006 US Open champion Sharapova was highly anticipated, partly because it was a big test for Wozniacki’s great form but also a big test for more established Sharapova, and the two didn’t disappoint, providing tennis fans with big-hitting contest.

Both Wozniacki and Sharapova had very low break point conversion percentages – Wozniacki just 25% (converting 3 of 12 break points), and Sharapova just 11% (making use of only 1 out of 9 break points). Sharapova also had much more double faults and unforced errors than Wozniacki – nine double faults to Wozniacki’s three, and 36 unforced errors to Wozniacki’s 10. Final match result: 6-3 6-4.

Wozniacki has won the last four meetings against her next opponent Cibulkova, dating back to 2008, and all of them were on hard courts. The Dane is now more than ever a serious contender for a Grand Slam title, and if the repeat of the last year’s final with Kim Clijsters materializes, Wozniacki will be much more likely to go all the way. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)

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21 thoughts on “Cibulkova upsets Kuznetsova, top seed Wozniacki beats Sharapova for the first time

  1. Carlos

    The wind played an effect in this match in the first set. I thought in the second set it was more Divapova's shoulder. Windy conditions do not favor ball bashers either makes the ball go long or wide, it affects the ball basher's accuracy. What I saw in the second set was Divapova's shots lend on the net, she did not look tired, so I conclude it was her shoulder giving out.

    The Big Stuffed Bunny has improved even more, she now has offense, knows how to construct points, her serve is pretty good, to go along with her defense. Her physical conditioning is great, you can tell by the way she absorbed Divapova's power which to me was one one keys to her victory.

    Dementieva vs Stosur (No post? :P) I questioned Dementieva's physical conditioning, I thought she was an idiot for not resting and playing too much at New Haven. I also thought she would go down in the second round. I was wrong obviously, with Dememtieva IT IS ALL MENTAL. She was up 5-3 in the third set, serving for the match. I said to myself, 'I'll bet everything I have that she will choke' and she did. She lacks mental toughness and without it she won't be able to win a grand slam. I truly believe her window of opportunity is closed.

  2. Marija Post author

    Carlos, don't pressure me! :D I was at a wedding on Sunday, I of course I went to work early Monday morning.

  3. Mirjana

    It was a great match between Maria and Caro, with a lot of long rallies. It was really amazing to see how Caroline absorbed the power of Maria's shots, her play style kinda reminds me of Kim… Anyway, I think Caroline is a big contender for the title now, but let's see… As for Maria, she played well, but at the end there were just too many double faults and unforced errors. Kinda think of it, I don't understand why is she tossing the ball so high, all the big servers toss it less, and more important- why is she making such a great pause between 1st and 2nd serve, it's more than obvious she's loosing the concentration, and I think that's a big reason for her double faults. Anyway, we're still waiting for Maria to give her best and be a top 10 player again…

  4. mg

    Agghhhh…Maria played well and lost again, mostly her fault: double faults and errors. I don't think her strategy was so well for this match: she was doing her usual hard hitting, winners or errors making; but I gotta say I'm very happy with the way she played some shots clever and two nice drop shots; I think she should have tried with some long slice shots instead of her usual flat and strong: Caroline obviously got used to it and could handle it; with long slices she woul keep her off the balance and enforce an error. Caro's on the great form, but I'm not so sure about her taking the title.I'm not such a fan of her game, but it obviously works; I think her futute opponents should try mixing the shots against her and breaking her rytham that way; but, really, how many players know how to mix shots? (very sad indeed):P
    Great thing for Cibulkova, we haven't seen her for while. Kuznetsova is close to her form, but just close, she needs more time.

  5. TennisAce

    I am not sure we all watched the same match. Caro matched Maria shot for shot. It was not the shoulder Carlos. Maria has what is called in tennis, the yips and that is a mental thing, that is why she takes forever between first and second serves. She has lost all confidence in that particular stroke.

    Caro played brilliantly yesterday. She was offensive when she needed to be and defensive when it counted. Perhaps this fallacy that Maria is hitting power shots can now be put to rest. They may look to us like she is playing power shots, but perhaps they are not coming in at the pace that they used to.

    In addition, Maria's conditioning needs to be addressed. After a 10 stroke rally, her shots lost whatever power they had on them and they started falling in the service box, which gave Caro the opportunity to come in and hit winners (even though she had less than Maria).

    In addition, Maria started playing Caro's game. You cannot play Caro's game because she will kill you out there with defence. Pity she could not call Joyce down court side to explain to her what she needed to do.

  6. Francesca

    I agree with TennisAce , Maria I've seen play yesterday was far from the fighter who know, in moments of tension she has an obvious problem with service in which she has lost confidence and also leads her to committing three consecutive double faults!!
    Ok, Maria has hit hard , but she committed many unforced errors and she does not move very well on court…
    Sorry to be so strict with Maria, I love her, but I was not excited about the match and Caroline deserved to win.

  7. TennisAce

    In addition to what Francesca said above, I just do not see that fighter in Maria that we all came to see in the early part of her career.

    In the 4 matches that she has lost this year at the Grand Slam level, her whole demeanour has gone from joyful to just dejected. It is like she just gives up. In her match against Clijsters, she just went away in the third set and in her match against Azarenka, she did the same thing.

    The commentators keep making excuses for her but the fact of the matter is that she no longer fights for points in the way that you expect a Grand Slam champion to fight for points.

    During this year's FO, Serena Williams was down match points and what did she do, she rallied and fought like hell. She still lost but she went down fighting. At this year's Wimbledon, Serena faced 3 set points against Maria and kept on fighting and never gave up. That is what champions do, they do not roll over and put their hands in the air and cry surrender.

  8. marine

    Maria definitely shot herself in the foot with poor serving. Caroline just had to hand in there and wait for her to self-destruct.

  9. Carlos

    Ms. Marija, I hope at least you caught the bouquet. :P Admit it, you were too drunk to write a post haha. :P

    TennisAce: I respectfully disagree, Divapova before the injury was always mental tough on court. You could never tell if she was frustrated or not, she had this poker face on court whether she was winning or losing and in this match you could easily see her frustration. Yes The Big Stuffed Bunny matched Divapova shot for shot and to be honest it surprised me, that told me how much Caro has improved. I believe Divapova's shoulder injury was worse than it was reported. I'm beginning to think that her camp is hiding the effects of the injury/surgery, Why? Because of the contract that she signed with Nike, at least that is my theory. I believe that there has to be something physically wrong with Divapova in order for her to get frustrated. I could easily predict when the ball was going to lend on the net when she was serving, because I noticed that her shoulder was tired. Exactly like a baseball pitchers when they have thrown too many pitches.

  10. Francesca

    Carlos, I agree with you about the injury/surgery and that it is easy to see when the ball goes to the net, I am not particularly competent, but I seemed to notice that often the movement is too slow and sometimes she throws the ball too low, but it may be also an impression due to the prospect of framing… However I think the service is not the only problem at the time, probably there's a psychological component that does not allow her to be lucid, and yes, yesterday she seemed very frustrated… Unfortunately I could not see the previous match (which were clearly won) and then I don't know, maybe she was particularly tense for the match with Caroline.

  11. Carlos

    Ms. Francesca, Divapova's footwork is not her strength, what she did to opponents was pound them to submission. Yes, the ball was low on her shots lending on the net. I couldn't tell if it was shoulder or wind or a combination of both, but good point in the framing. She was tense in this match but I still think her shoulder gets tire as tournaments progresses. She does well in the early rounds but shoulder fatigue catches her in later rounds unfortunately those are the rounds with tougher opponents.

    Ms Marija, still with the hangover haha :P

  12. Marija Post author

    Carlos, I wasn't drunk at all, I had to stay as fresh as possible because I new a whole day, and night, of work was awaiting me. I posted less because I was translating all day long for my job.

  13. Bróna

    Ok, I'm rather late with my comments, but here goes.

    I was genuinely shocked at how both players contended this match. Wozniacki showed something that I have not seen in her before- she was offensive. She has improved out of sight. I thought that she was just cruising through the first rounds because her opponents were much lower ranked than she was and that she was merely too good, but clearly that wasn't the case. She is a changed player and I think the title in Montréal made all the difference because she got the extra confidence having finally won one of the biggest events outside the major tournaments. I expected Sharapova to come out and beat Wozniacki in a fairly straightforward match. The Maria Sharapova who played that match is not the same Maria Sharapova who won 3 grand slam titles before the age of 21, that's for sure. I know it's been said before, but Sharapova just isn't the same player since she's come back and although I've always thought that she could win more majors after the surgery but I'm really beginning to doubt that now. The serve is such an issue. Clearly, she doesn't have much faith in herself when she goes up to the line to hit the serve. It is at times painful to watch from a player who had such a wonderful serve. A new generation of players are coming and I'm afraid that she will be left behind. At the same time, she has such a tough mentality and if anything, she will just come back stronger from this defeat. If it is the case that Sharapova wins more slams in the future I will be ecstatic, but now it's surely Caroline's turn because I believe it's a matter of when, not if. I hope Kim wins the title, it would make up for the disappointment of Sharapova.

    Sorry for the long comment, I didn't realise I had so much to say ;)

  14. Marija Post author

    Bróna, thanks for the insightful comment. :) Hehe it's so weird to actually realize that Maria belongs to the old generation of players.

  15. fyoto

    Maria pova is overrated and just a ballbasher,she lost because Caroline put pressure on her serve and was moving her around.Maria tried to overpower Caro and screech louder but to no avail.Pova should accept that the boat has sailed and there are new gals in town who beat her all the time like Azarenka and Caro.She is lucky to get to the 4th round otherwise her return to tennis has been a disaster.
    A010..LOST RD 1
    FO10..LOST RD 3
    WIMBLEDON HER SO CALLED FAV TOURNEY AND HAS NEVER BEEN BEYOND 4TH RD SINCE 2006
    USA OPEN 2010 4TH RD

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