Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Cibulkova takes down "World Number 1" Caroline Wozniacki
World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki stumbled in her first match of the 2011 season on Tuesday, dropping her opening match at the Medibank International Sydney to Dominika Cibulkova, 6-3 6-3.
Wozniacki, the No.1 seed, had won her last nine sets against Cibulkova, but the No.32-ranked Slovak made a statement early on, breaking Wozniacki at 15 in the opening game en route to taking the first set. After falling behind 2-3 she took four straight games to cap her first win over a reigning No.1.
"At the start of the new season you need to get into match play. I didn't feel I was playing great tennis out there," Wozniacki said. "Now I just need to get some training matches, head to Melbourne and get ready for the Australian Open. Last year I had the same start, so hopefully slow start, good finish."
"My dad saw her play yesterday, and she was playing really well against Maria Kirilenko too," Wozniacki added. "I've played her quite a few times and we've always had quite long matches before, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy."
Cibulkova's best previous win came against a No.2-ranked Jelena Jankovic at Montréal in 2008. She had been 0-3 against reigning No.1s, losing to Jankovic (in 2008), Dinara Safina (in 2009) and Serena Williams (in 2010).
"I think I've beaten No.2, No.3, No.4, No.5 and everybody, just not No.1. So I'm really happy about it," Cibulkova beamed afterwards. "The most important thing today was I went on the court and saw myself like a winner from the first point until the last point. So it wasn't a surprise for me - I just played my game. I had my plan. I knew it was going to work if I just stuck to my plan."
World No.2 Vera Zvonareva also lost, falling to Flavia Pennetta, 7-5 7-5. The result may seem surprising given Pennetta is ranked 22 spots below Zvonareva at No.24, but it can be deceiving - Pennetta has been in the Top 10 and had won three of their last four meetings (now four of their last five meetings).
Zvonareva's pre-quarterfinal loss means Kim Clijsters has a shot at moving to No.2 if she wins this title. The No.3-seeded Clijsters kept on rolling towards that goal in her match, beating qualifier Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, 6-1 6-4.
In other matches, Svetlana Kuznetsova upset No.4 seed and Australian No.1 Samantha Stosur, 3-6 6-3 6-4; No.7 seed Victoria Azarenka beat Shahar Peer, 7-5 6-3; No.8 seed Li Na rallied past qualifier Virginie Razzano, 6-4 1-6 6-4; Alisa Kleybanova handled María José Martínez Sánchez, 6-2 6-4; and in the last match, Aravane Rezai will face qualifier Bojana Jovanovski.