Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) vs.  Donna Vekic (CRO)
To play Cibulkova you not only have to be physically fit, you have to be mentally strong as well. Despite her diminutive stature, she is a fierce competitor who never gives up even when the odds are against her. Her enthusiasm and continuous jumping at the baseline can be discouraging to opponents, especially when they are feeling slightly depleted. What looked like a brilliant start for Vekic turned out to be a short-lived moment in the spotlight as Cibulkova quickly broke back.
Vekic has beaten Cibulkova before, but that was some time ago and while Cibulkova has taken her game to another level, Vekic’s game has remained stagnant. Despite her big serve, she is lacking in fitness and was not as mobile around the court as her opponent. The battle for Vekic was to remain positive in the face of the attacking tornado called Cibulkova and as the match progressed the discouragement became more apparent when she was unable to counter the attack effectively.
Cibulkova won 6-2, 6-2. The score does not do justice to Vekic, who contested the match at a very high level; unfortunately, in the end, she had nothing to show for it but a loss. The better player, both mentally and physically was Cibulkova, and it was apparent throughout the entire match that she never felt threatened by her opponent. Cibulkova’s focus was razor-sharp and she was impressive in her dismissal of Vekic in straight sets. A mental error in the form of a double-fault ended Vekic’s valiant effort. What can Vekic take from this? She has the serve and ground strokes; however, she needs to get fitter, stronger and mentally tougher if she wants to take her game to the next level.
SOURCE OF IMAGE: Getty Image