STRASBOURG, France - Former World No.4 Dominika Cibulkova eased into her first clay court quarterfinal of 2018, dismissing Reka-Luca Jani, 6-1, 6-4 at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.
"I'm hoping to play as many matches as I can," she said after the match. "If I can stay until the end, that will be the best possible result."
Sidelined for nearly two months due to illness and injuries, Cibilkova struggled to find her best tennis for most of the season but seems to be clicking into form in Strasbourg, needing just 75 minutes to advance on Court Patrice Dominguez.
"I'm happy to be here. It's really nice; the courts and city are both beautiful. The fans really love tennis here, as well. With all the French cheering, it's reminding me of the French Open already!"
Jani was fresh off her first WTA main draw win in over two years after outlasting American Sachia Vickery, and suffered a slow start against the Slovak, who rolled out to a 6-1, 3-1 advantage.
"The first set was the way I should play, but I complicated things for myself in the second. I always want to improve and play even better in the quarterfinals.
"It can be tricky when you play someone you didn't know. Today, I had to keep up the quality on the court, and that's when I lost focus and things got complicated."
The 26-year-old suddenly leveled the second set and twice saved match point - once on an umpire overrule and again when the point was replayed - but Cibulkova ultimately proved too strong, striking 22 winners to just 18 unforced errors and converting four of seven break point opportunities.
Standing between the former Australian Open finalist and a spot in the semifinals is either Daria Gavrilova or Samantha Stosur in a rematch of last year's singles final.
"Finally, I'll play an opponent that I know; I've played both Gavrilova and Stosur a few times, so it'll be different to prepare for this kind of match."