LONDON, Great Britain - No.8 seed Dominika Cibulkova bounced back from a mararthon opener with a straight sets victory over American Jennifer Brady, 6-4, 6-4, to move into the third round at Wimbledon.
A two-time quarterfinalist at the All-England Club, the Slovak has now reached the third round or better in seven of her 10 career appearances at Wimbledon, despite not having won a match on grass in three tournaments she played in the lead-up.
Cibulkova lost serve 11 times in a first round victory over Andrea Petkovic that stretched to 9-7 in the final set, but never surrendered her serve on Court 18 to move through to the third round in 76 minutes.
"Today was really, really good match from both sides," Cibulkova said. "I would say she was playing really well. She was going for her shots and playing really fast. The serve was really hard to return. I had to find my rhythm, and, you know, I never played her before. I was prepared a little bit, but it's always different when you stand against opponent for the first time.
"I have to say I handled the situation pretty well. I was ready for her, for her heavy shots. After, when I found my return, found the rhythm on the return, I was just there, and I was just waiting for my chance to break her.
"My serve was working really well today, and, you know, it was both for me, I had to play sometimes offensive, sometimes defensive, and I combined it really well today."
In what was a clean match between both players, each ended with a positive ratio of winners to unforced errors. In the victory, Cibulkova struck 16 winners to just 10 errors, while Brady matched her with 18 winners and 15 errors.
Both players were staggering behind their first serve, as the Slovak landed 78 percent of her deliveries - including 89 percent in the first set - and won 81 percent of the points played behind it in the match.
To her credit, Brady was similarly effective, winning 78 percent of points behind her first serve, but ultimately, break point conversion decided the match.
Cibulkova converted on two of her five opportunities - once in each set - while Brady went 0-for-3 - including on the two chances she had to get the second set back on serve in the eighth game.
"Last year was just a great year, a great year on the court, off the court - and with the wedding, the end of the second week of Wimbledon, I had a backup plan," the 2016 quarterfinalist said of her memorable tournament a year ago. "For me, it was just exciting to be here. I was really looking forward to the wedding, and it had really positive energy for me. Last year was like, I don't want to say like a fairy tale, but it ended with me winning the [WTA Finals in Singapore]. It was really huge last year for me. This year, I'm still trying to get on the winning level where I want to be.
"In the beginning of the year, it wasn't easy. To be in this position for the first time of my life, to be No. 4, No. 5 in the world, it was a little bit different, but, you know, I feel that the second half of the year can be much better."
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