LINZ, Austria - Dominika Cibulkova kept alive her hopes of reaching the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global with a routine 6-1, 6-2 victory over Belinda Bencic in the first round of the Generali Ladies Linz.
The World No.8 is currently ninth in the road to Singapore, with three places remaining unclaimed, and took a wildcard in Austria to boost her chances of qualification.
The No.2 seed skipped into a first-set lead, breaking the 19-year-old in her opening service game. She was pegged back immediately, but did not drop a game for the rest of the first set, which she claimed 6-1 at a canter.
Cibulkova did not waste any time in the second set, either. Breaking in the first game, she sped to a 2-0 lead before breaking again to go 4-1 ahead. Bencic enjoyed a brief comeback, halving the deficit to 4-2 but the 27-year-old immediately restored her cushion and claimed the second set 6-2.
"It was a really tough draw, most of the times when wildcards play each other, it should be easier than this. It was a really tough one and I was prepared for a big battle today," the Slovak said of being drawn with Bencic.
"I was playing solid, I did nothing extra; I was playing solid and really fast. I was just playing really good tennis from the first point to the last."
Reacting to comments from her opponent that she "killed her", Cibulkova responded: "I wouldn't say 'I killed' her, she's a great player, so I would say I won a lot of very important points and that made a difference. It just shows that I was really strong mentally today."
Cibulkova will face Annika Beck in the next round for a place in the quarterfinals.