LONDON, Great Britain - The unseeded Dominika Cibulkova is back into the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the third time in her career after defeating the tricky Hsieh Su-Wei in straight sets.
In the last round, Hsieh scored the upset of the tournament after a three-set rollercoaster win over No.1 seed Simona Halep. But she couldn’t back it up against Cibulkova, who needed just over an hour and 20 minutes to notch the 6-4, 6-1 victory and has yet to drop a set all tournament long.
“I love to play on grass because the balls, they are jumping pretty low. That can be my advantage,” Cibulkova told press later. “On the other hand, I'm not a big server, but I return really well. That's one of my favorite shots.
“Here I just feel like, even I play against big servers, I feel like I can return better here. I don't know why it is. The second serve sometimes when I play on the clay or on the hard court, the kicks, when it's really high, for me it's hard to return. Here it's just not jumping so high.
“Maybe these small details, they are coming together for me, and that's why I can play so well on the grass.”
Cibulkova scored the lone service hold late in the topsy-turvy opening set that started off with eight straight breaks of serve. Hsieh seemed to struggle with her serves, giving the big-hitting Cibulkova plenty of looks at her attackable second delivery - Cibulkova twice broke to love in the first set - but the eclectic Hsieh had plenty of power and variety off the ground to trouble her opponent.
After edging through in the grueling 50-minute opening set, it was one-way traffic for Cibulkova in the second as she found another gear to break Hsieh twice.
Hsieh found her first hold of the match late in the set, dodging four break chances at 3-1, but she couldn’t make inroads on the Slovakian’s serve or defend her own service games, falling to an elated Cibulkova after an hour and 23 minutes on court.
Up next, the Slovakian will face No.12 seed Jelena Ostapenko, who edged past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 7-6(4), 6-0 earlier in the day. Cibulkova is seeking the first Wimbledon semifinal of her carreer.
“I've played [Ostapenko] before. She won a Grand Slam, so she been on the big stages before. She won a Grand Slam, so she know what it takes,” Cibulkova said.
“You never know what to expect from her. In this tournament, she seems to be in the right mood. She's playing aggressive, she's playing with no fear. She just going for it. I think it's going to be a match with a lot of rallies, aggressive rallies, a lot of winners.”
Cibulkova leads Ostapenko 2-0 in their head-to-head record, including an Eastbourne matchup in 2016 that she won in straight sets en route tot the title.