CARLSBAD, CA, USA - Dominika Cibulkova reached the quarterfinals for the sixth time in her last seven WTA tournaments on Thursday, defeating Marina Erakovic, 62 64, to reach the Mercury Insurance Open's final eight.
The No.2-seeded Cibulkova served great - she fired six aces and held eight of nine service games - and was sharp on the return, breaking Erakovic four times, even with the New Zealander's 10 aces and winning 77% of first serve points.
"Especially first set I was playing well and relaxed, but in the second set I started to make it tougher for myself," Cibulkova said. "I was really happy to close it out, because if it got to 5-all it could have gotten dangerous."
The World No.14 talked about controlling her frustration in the second set, when her unforced error count started to mount. "I want to be perfect, so when I do some mistakes I turn into a negative person. Sometimes I don't think the right way. That's what I'm working on. I think sometimes my behaviour on the court isn't the best - I think that's what is keeping me from being in the Top 10."
Cibulkova's only pre-quarterfinal loss since in her last seven tournaments came at Wimbledon, where she was surprised in the first round by Czech veteran Klara Zakopalova. "You never know what to expect from her," she said. "She's very up and down. Sometimes she's hitting the balls like crazy. I was waiting in the match for a turning point, where she really goes down, but it didn't happen.
"Wimbledon was not the best for me. But with the Olympics I have a chance to make up for it. That's one reason I'm really pumped for the Olympics."
While Cibulkova was keeping up her consistent string of results, Jelena Jankovic was snapping out of a string of disappointing ones - having fallen first match at 10 of her last 13 tournaments, the No.3-seeded Serb dug very deep to edge Melinda Czink at night, 26 64 64, fighting off an amazing 20 break points in the match (Czink converted four of her 24 break point opportunities).
"There were times I was down and had a lot of break points against me, but I was able to come back and take the games," Jankovic said. "Overall the serve was working well. Other things in my game could have been a lot better, but the most important thing is I won today, and I get another chance to play tomorrow."
"Wow, I didn't know that statistic," McHale said of the break points. "Going into my next match I'm going to have to serve a lot better, but I'm just happy I found a way to pull it out. And I have to give credit to Misaki - she played really well."
Urszula Radwanska rolled over lucky loser Melanie Oudin in the only other match of the day, 62 61. The trickiest aspect of the match could have been the umpire's job: when they announced it was Radwanska's turn to serve, they announced the wrong Radwanska - big sister, Agnieszka Radwanska.
"I noticed that! But I get used to that," this Radwanska said. "A lot of people compare us to each other. If someone is talking about me, they are for sure going to talk about Aga as well and ask me some questions about her, because she's famous, she's the top player. I noticed it today, but I'm used to it."
Radwanska was asked if she gave the umpire a look about the name swap. "I think I did," she said. "I think I did look at her pretty scary! I think I did!"