Wimbledon: Dominika Cibulkova back-court game too strong for Radwanska

Serena Williams comes through her match against Russia’s Kuznetsova

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during her fourth round match against Poland’s Agnieszka Radawanska at Wimbledon. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia during her fourth round match against Poland’s Agnieszka Radawanska at Wimbledon. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

 

The first week is when they trickle through the draw, the second week when they are flushed out into the open as it moves from a crowded space to just eight individuals, six Europeans and two Americans.

No prize for who the Americans are.

Less visible than Serena or Venus is Dominika Cibulkova, a 19th seed from Slovakia and relatively unknown on this side of the world. But her back-court game was fractionally more than what Agnieszka Radwanska, the world number three, could give.

In the best match played so far at Wimbledon this year the 27-year-old ended her day rolling around number three court in tears having won 6-3, 7-5, 9-7.

In an unusual twist it could be said that Cibulkova, the 2014 Australian Open runner-up, was not expecting the result as she had pencilled in her marriage for Saturday, the day of the women’s final.

Hitch the wagon

Wimbledon women’s

“Yeah, you know, we chose this because I never saw myself as such a great grass-court player, you know,” said a candid Cibulkova. “But winning Eastbourne and now, being in a quarter-final I would change my mind.

“But it’s no problem. We can postpone it. But I’m still here, and I’m playing my match tomorrow. We are still keeping this date. We’ll see what’s gonna happen. If I would win tomorrow, then we will change it.”

The Slovakian won 22 break points, more than twice as many as her opponent. Yet she struggled to grab them when they arrived until three hours into the match in the 16th game of the third set.

Radwanska also earned a match point, which was saved by Cibulkova’s huge forehand. The Pole was understandably chippy afterwards.

“Of course, it’s always better to play great match than the crappy one,” said Radwanska. “Anyway, the result is the same. I’m here as a loser, so what can I do?”

Venus and Serena Williams are on different sides of the draw so they will only meet if they both reach the final. That would be something, 34-year-old Serena and her 36-year-old sister, whose last Grand Slam win was eight years ago on Centre Court.

Dominant

Serena came through her match against Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova with the minimum of fuss after a nuggety first set. She then crushed Kuznetsova after a calming conversation with her coach during a rain break. It was a slow 7-5 and then a flashing 6-0 for the win.

“I felt I was really dialled in so good today,” said Serena, who was greatly encouraged by the win of her sister.

“I say this constantly, she is my toughest opponent. She has been doing a lot of improvement which is good for her and super encouraging for me.”

Venus was more circumspect and spent longer on court with Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro looking confident if not totally dominant but winning 7-6 (3), 6-4. Her 19th Wimbledon appearance is a record.

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