PARIS, France – No.11 seed Julia Goerges of Germany made it through to the second round of the French Open on Tuesday by seeing off Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, 6-4, 5-7, 6-0.
The powerful server overcame Cibulkova in a hair over two hours by hitting 17 aces and 47 winners in total, to only 23 unforced errors. Goerges won 78 percent of points behind her first serve in the tilt, making it extremely difficult for Cibulkova to get a foothold in the German's service games.
Goerges started in a rusty manner, but powered back to take control of the first set. Cibulkova, who finished as Strasbourg runner-up on Saturday and moved up to World No.32 as a result, initially showed few signs of a hangover as she claimed the opening two games, with her opponent culpable for some wayward tennis.
However, Goerges soon began to heat up, hitting the ball through the court and increasingly with more accuracy. It was sufficient to draw level, then pull ahead at 3-2, with a thumping winner coming off her racquet on the return of serve to seal a second successive break.
Once ahead, there was little prospect of Goerges losing her grasp on the set, which was completed with an emphatic service game in which her big serve was to the fore.
Such was the power in the World No.11’s play that Cibulkova, the former Roland Garros semi-finalist, was struggling to make any inroads into the German's service games. It was a pattern that would continue into the second set, during which it was the higher-ranked player who looked likelier to break.
In the third game, Goerges produced the first break point with a deft angled forehand, yet it was squandered as she hit long, allowing the Slovakian off the hook.
Although Cibulkova was receiving light treatment to the left hip, she gradually managed to change the momentum of the set, and forced two break points in the eighth game, which were expertly saved by her opponent, who went on to hold.Goerges then had to fend off a set point as Cibulkova hit two crushing winners in the 10th game, sealing it with her 13th ace of the match. At this point, Cibulkova stepped up a gear, taking command of the twelfth game by throwing in an unexpected drop shot and moving 15-40 up. Both were saved, as was a third. But ill-timed errors cost Goerges the set as Cibulkova finally broke, benefitting from a double fault and a simple volley netted.
Relaxing before it all starts for me tomorrow @rolandgarros #teamjule
Always with me my #Medreflexx orthotics, even in my casual #onitsukatiger shoes from #ASICS @ASICSTennis pic.twitter.com/1gaxCTMhZe
— Jule Goerges✌️🇩🇪 (@juliagoerges) May 28, 2018
Goerges, however, took complete control of the deciding set, after a between-sets changeover where Cibulkova received more treatment for her injury. The German slammed a backhand service return winner down the line to break Cibulkova at love in the first game of the set, then hit another ace on game point to hold for 2-0.
After attaining another break of serve, Goerges closed out her next service game at love with yet another ace for a 4-0 advantage, and the race to the finish was well and truly in progress for the German No.1.
Cibulkova’s last chance was at 5-0, when she reached a break point with a forehand winner at the end of a hard-hitting rally. But Goerges erased that opportunity with a backhand drop shot for a winner. A subsequent ace brought up the German's first match point, and she only needed the one, as Cibulkova fired a backhand long to end the contest.
Goerges will face Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round. The Belgian, a former quarterfinalist at the French Open, beat wildcard Isabelle Wallace of Australia, 6-1, 6-0 on Tuesday.
More to follow...