No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova warded off the formidable challenge of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to take a three-set victory and advance into the quarterfinals in Qatar.
WTA Staff

DOHA, Qatar - No.3 seed Dominika Cibulkova overcame a stern test to beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in the second round of the Qatar Total Open and move into the quarterfinals.

"It's not easy to play Anastasia", Cibulkova said after the match. "We've played so many matches together and this match was one of the good ones."

In a contest of powerful forehands and crackling racquet speeds, it was the Russian underdog who made the quicker start. She proved more than equal to Cibulkova's powerful drives and the World No.5 was unable to prevent a double break for 2-5, before conceding just a single point in the two games Pavlyuchenka had to serve for the set.

Cibulkova held to make it four games won in a row and soon made it five, and the first set. Pavlyuchenkova appeared understandably reluctant to take on the Slovak's forehand and, now serving to stay alive in the set, made four unforced errors - all into the net, to cede the opener.

Pavlyuchenkova leveled the match but Cibulkova, the fresher of the pair after receiving a bye for the first round, drew first blood in the decider with an early break in the decider, before the rain returned, forcing the players off for 16 minutes at 4-1.

"I was hoping that the rain delay would help me to settle down and get my emotions cooled down," she admitted. Her hopes were fulfilled too, as she earned a second break to complete the win.

Monica Puig also made it through to the quarterfinals, after Yulia Putintseva retired in the third set of their match with the score at 6-4, 4-6, 2-1. She faces a potential clash with top seed Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.