Cibulkova stuns Sharapova in Melbourne, Azarenka beats Stephens

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Dominika Cibulkova


Everyone wondered if third seeded Maria Sharapova would make the quarters, as she had not been playing well, while 20th seeded Dominika Cibulkova had flown through to the last 16 with the loss of just nine games. Cibulkova is the shortest player on the tour at 5’3”, while Sharapova is one of the tallest at 6’2”.

Cibulkova won the toss and chose to serve, a seemingly bad mistake, as she was broken immediately. The next four games went with serve until the Russian got the double break to lead 5-2, but the feisty Slovak broke back to love before Sharapova served out the set at 6-3. Cibulkova came out on fire and, helped by a slew of unforced errors and double faults by Sharapova, ran up a 5-0 lead. Sharapova then upped her game and took the next four games to trail 4-5, but Cibulkova took the set 6-4. Sharapova then went off court for a 10 minutes medical time out. On her return, Cibulkova took the first two games, the Russian held and then the Slovak took three games to lead 5-1. With Sharapova trying to stay in the set, she served three doubles and allowed Cibulkova a match point before taking the game, but to no avail as Cibulkova took the set on her second match point in the next game.

2nd seeded Victoria Azarenka and 13th seeded Sloane Stephens followed that upset, in a repeat of last year’s semi final. Azarenka had not dropped a set yet, but Stephens had three difficult matches leading to the last 16. Azarenka got a break to go 3-1 up and another to lead 5-2 before closing the set at 6-3. In the second set Azarenka took the first two games to love before the American got on the scoreboard and was allowed just one more game before Azarenka broke again to take the set 6-2.

In the night match on Sunday, the last remaining Aussie in the singles, 120th ranked leftie wild card Casey Dellaqua, took on the Canadian teen sensation, 30th ranked Eugenie Bouchard. Both players had won their first three rounds in straight sets. The Aussie broke in the 1st game, but the Canadian broke back to level at 4-4. The set went to a breaker which Dellaqua won 7-5. Bouchard ran up a 4-1 lead in the second set and took it easily at 6-2. She went on to take the decider to love to move into her first Slam quarter final.


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