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Cibulkova Comes Out Firing In KL

Dominika Cibulkova cruised through her BMW Malaysian Open opener on Wednesday. It was her first match as a Top 10 player - did it feel any different for her?

Published April 16, 2014 12:15

Cibulkova Comes Out Firing In KL
Dominika Cibulkova

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Dominika Cibulkova made a winning start to her BMW Malaysian Open campaign, surviving some close moments in the second set but eventually winning in straights.

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Facing Turkish qualifier Pemra Ozgen, the No.1-seeded Cibulkova looked on complete cruise control for the first half hour of the match, going up a set and a break at 61 10. Ozgen came alive from there, breaking right back and actually winning three of the next four games to build a 3-2 lead in the second set, but Cibulkova rebounded with four straight games to complete the 61-minute, 61 63 victory.

"In the first set I was feeling quite good, but in the second set I changed my racquet for new balls and it was a little mistake from my side, because the tension was not right," Cibulkova said after the match. "When it was 2-3, I changed my racquet again and I was back on the track I needed to be on.

"Overall I was very aggressive and didn't give her a chance to play slice and get me off the court."

Cibulkova was playing her first match since breaking into the Top 10 on March 31 after Miami.

"It feels good," she said. "There's actually no difference for me though - No.11, No.10, No.9 - this year I really just want to play well, play some good tennis, and just show my best tennis whenever I play."

The Slovak, who is currently in second place on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, now has 21 WTA-level match wins on the year, which ties her as the WTA leader on the year alongside Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska. She will become the standalone WTA leader if she wins her next match.

And awaiting Cibulkova in the second round will be Hsieh Su-Wei. Hsieh is better known for her doubles success - she's currently ranked No.2 in the world in the team discipline - but she's also a former Top 25 player in singles with two WTA titles to her name, including right here in 2012.

"I haven't played her in singles but I've played her in doubles, and she's obviously a great player in doubles," Cibulkova said of Hsieh. "She's just a great player overall. It will be a really, really tough match. She's used to these conditions and the court is fast, so I'll really have to be ready for it."

Elsewhere the first three second round matches of the week took place, with No.4 seed Patricia Mayr-Achleitner beating Danka Kovinic, 64 36 61, No.6 seed Zarina Diyas out-hitting Italian qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone, 61 64, and Magda Linette beating Ukrainian qualifier Lyudmyla Kichenok, 61 62.

"She was playing amazing," Mayr-Achleitner said of Kovinic. "It was a tough match. She was playing like Top 30 sometimes. But I just kept fighting and finally I won, and I'm very proud of myself."

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