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Cibulkova Sets Sights On Maiden Title

Dominika Cibulkova is on a mission to win her first WTA title in Seoul this week. On Monday she got past the first hurdle.

Published September 19, 2011 03:07

Cibulkova Sets Sights On Maiden Title
Dominika Cibulkova

SEOUL, South Korea - Dominika Cibulkova was the only seed in action on the first day of main draw play at the Hansol Korea Open, and she pocketed the expected win. Cibulkova, who accepted a wildcard into the $220,000 hardcourt event and is seeded No.4, held off Arantxa Parra Santonja in straight sets, 63 75.

Read Dominka's blog from Seoul - her first for the WTA!

The match featured 10 service breaks, with Cibulkova converting six of 20 break points against the Spaniard. And with a first service percentage of just 49 percent, she admitted there was room to improve.

"It wasn't perfect, because my condition is not perfect - it's my first match in Asia this season and it's always hard to play without enough practice," said the 22-year-old Slovak, who is playing in Korea for the first time and says she has shrugged off the Achilles problem that bothered her during the North American summer. 

"But I'm sure my game will get better. I'm still looking forward to my first WTA title - that's my main main goal and the reason I came here."

Currently No.22 and once as high as No.12, Cibulkova is the second highest ranked player without a WTA singles title, after China's Peng Shuai, who is No.15 at the moment. It's also more three years since she reached her two career finals, at Amelia Island and Montréal.

In 2010, nine players enjoyed tournament breakthroughs; so far this season, four players have won maiden titles: Alberta Brianti (Fès), Polona Hercog (Bastad), Ksenia Pervak (Tashkent) and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Québec City). Pervak and Zahlavova Strycova lifted their trophies just last weekend.

Only two other main draw matches were played on Monday, both unseeded affairs. Klara Zakopalova beat Japan's Ayumi Morita, 63 64, while Romania's Alexandra Dulgheru held off Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, 26 60 75. Rus held five match points at 5-4 in the third set.

Yaroslava Shvedova, Yurika Sema, Kristyna Pliskova and Nicole Rottmann all snapped up main draw berths with wins in the final round of qualifying. Pliskova and Rottmann will face each other, with the prospect of a second round match against either María José Martínez Sánchez or Irina Falconi.

Top seed Francesca Schiavone plays her first round match on Tuesday, against Vera Dushevina, with the winner to face Dulgheru. No.2 seed Marion Bartoli is also on the schedule as is third-seeded Julia Goerges.

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