LONDON, Great Britain - No.8 seed Dominika Cibulkova converted her sixth match point to steel past former Top 10 player Andrea Petkovic, 6-3, 3-6, 9-7, and reach the second round at the Wimbledon Championships.
"It was extremely tough match," she said in her post-match press conference. "I knew it was going to be a tough one against Andrea. We know each other pretty well. I think my game suits her game, so I knew it's gonna be tough one."
A quarterfinalist in 2016, the reigning BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global champion came to the All England Club in search of a first grass court win of the year - though she did win her maiden doubles title at the Ricoh Open with Kirsten Flipkens.
"In the previous matches I wasn't in my best form. I mean, I was feeling good at practices but I just couldn't make it on the matches.
"But I approached the match in completely different way. I knew it's gonna be tough one. So, you know, I used my experience. I knew it's a Grand Slam, and I have a lot of experience in these matches."
She indeed faced a tough opponent in Petkovic on Monday; the German is a former World No.9 who has reached the quarterfinals of three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Wimbledon remains the only one where she's yet to reach the second week, and it became clear why as Cibulkova rolled through six straight games to win the opening set, hitting eight winners and converting three of four break point opportunities.
"I had a good few days of preparation here in Wimbledon, so a little bit different situation from last year. I really worked on specific things, on my practices."
Petkovic got out to another 3-0 lead in the second, this time holding on as she broke serve four times to level the match.
Cibulkova narrowly lost a three-setter at the Aegon Classic to Lucie Safarova two weeks ago, and slowly got into a similar clash with Petkovic, who broke her three straight times as the Slovak served for the match.
On her sixth match point, Cibulkova finally closed the match after two hours and 43 minutes on court.
"I'm happy to be in the second round in such a tough match. I had so many tough situations during the match. I was able to handle it and to deal with it well. So it's really important for me."
Up next will be the winner of the first round match between American Jennifer Brady, who beat Montenegro's Danka Kovinic, 6-3, 6-1.