A rematch of the Australian Open final is scheduled to take place in the quarter-final stage of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday afternoon, as top seed Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova clash for a second time this season. In their five previous encounters on the professional tour, Cibulkova is yet to defeat her Chinese opponent. She will look to earn her first win in six attempts. Check out the Na Li vs Cibulkova Head to Head.
World No. 2 Li Na moved into the quarter-final round at Indian Wells but it was not without its blunder. When serving for the match at 61 54, Li needed 11 match points in a marathon 10-deuce game to close the match out. While it took longer than expected, Li was satisfied with her general performance.
“I think all the match I was feeling pretty good, except the last game!” Li said. “The funny thing was that in the beginning of the game I was feeling tight, nervous, and then I was like, ‘What’s going on? Why can’t I finish the match?’ And she wasn’t giving up, and was defending so well. It was really tough. All I can say is wow, she saved a lot of match points. She’s pretty good.”
Looking ahead to her rematch with Cibulkova, Li believes the last win at the Australian Open does not add to her confidence heading into their Thursday quarter-final.
“The last win didn’t mean anything because I see she’s playing well here,” Li said.
World No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova reached the quarter-final earlier in the day when she dispatched of Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-2 in comfortable fashion. It was a strong showing from the Slovak, who saved all five break points she faced throughout the match, to set up a rematch of the Australian Open final. She will hunting for some form of revenge after Li denied her a maiden Grand Slam title.
“Hopefully I can get some revenge,” Cibulkova said. “Actually I hope to finally just beat her. I’ve never beaten her before. I’ll go on the court and use my experience from the Australian Open final. But she was playing really well that night – my game just wasn’t enough.”
The two competitors have met on five different occasions spanning over approximately six years. Li was victorious in all five matches, two of which were clay, while the remaining three were hard court encounters. She will be looking to add another hard court victory to the head-to-head series when the two clash on Thursday. Although the odds will certainly favour Na, Cibulkova has been in fantastic form this week and could absolutely be poised to earn her first ever win over the world No. 2.
Prediction: Li Na in Three Sets