On an action-packed Wednesday in Doha, third seed Dominika Cibulkova recorded a second-round victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the only player who had finished her round one match on a rain-affected Tuesday at the Qatar Total Open.
The world No.23 Pavlyuchenkova was the first to establish a considerable lead, going 5-2 in the first set. However, her big advantage wasn’t due to Cibulkova’s inferiority, rather, Pavlyuchenkova’s better performance in a few crucial points, i.e. break points. Just as we expected the Russian to finish the job, her game level dropped significantly and Cibulkova, who had enjoyed a first-round bye, raced away with five straight games to win the opening set 7-5.
In the second set Pavlyuchenkova was again the first player to grab a lead and this time she held on to it, winning the set 6-2. In the decider, Cibulkova went up 4-1 and then the rain returned, although only for 16 minutes. When play resumed, the Slovak completed the victory win another break, 7-5 2-6 6-2. This second-round match somehow revolved around 5-2, as we had that score in each of the sets. Moreover, Cibulkova now leads Pavlyuchenkova 5-2 in their head-to-head stats.
Because of Tuesday’s rain, some players had to play two matches on Wednesday and one of them was fifth seed Garbine Muguruza, who defeated Turkey’s Cagla Buyukakcay 6-3 6-2, but later fell to Zhang Shuai 7-6(3) 3-6 7-5. China’s Zhang recorded one of the biggest victories in her career and it’s not that Muguruza was a more tired player in the match, as Zhang had also played one more match on the day, beating Timea Babos 7-6(3) 6-3 in the first round.
Also winning two matches in one day was Monica Puig, who first eliminated Laura Siegemund 6-0 6-1 and then made the quarterfinals when Yulia Putintseva retired in their third set.
More matches were due to take place, but the rain returned and messed with the schedule once again.