Continuing the Red Group round-robin play kicked off by Simona Halep and Madison Keys earlier on Sunday, Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova played a highly entertaining three-setter, showing why their H2H record had been tied at 4-4.
The top-seeded Kerber walked sharply with her chin high in the first set, her body language loudly telling us how confident she feels being a world No.1. That self-confidence translated into the scoreboard, as the German broke her opponent’s serve in the opening game. The lead was alive until the middle of the set, when the fast-thinking and fast-moving Cibulkova took charge, broke back for 4-4 and held her serve in the following game to lead in the set for the first time.
Of course, Kerber didn’t allow Cibulkova to get too inspired, catching up with her all the way to the tiebreak, which was as tight as the rest of the set. At 5-5 in the tiebreak, Cibulkova’s drop shot touched the net a bit and went out. I hoped that the unlucky shot wouldn’t put down the energy bomb that Cibulkova is, and it didn’t, but still the Slovak lost the following point and Kerber squeezed past her in the first set, wearing lovely ice green Adidas Adizero Ubersonic 2 shoes.
The seventh-seeded Cibulkova’s fightback got a good doze of oxygen in the second set, as the Slovak raced to a 4-0 lead and even though Kerber had a mini resurgence by winning two straight games, the petite Cibulkova finished the job 6-2. You gotta love Cibulkova’s determination and focus!
In the third set, Cibulkova went up a break, 2-1, but Kerber broke back immediately and again for 4-2, the lead that Cibulkova never managed to catch up with.
Final score of this Red Group match: 7-6(5) 2-6 6-3.