Following impressive showings in their second round encounters, Angelique Kerber and Dominika Cibulkova will meet for seventh time on the professional tour. While Cibulkova leads the series 4-2, Kerber won their most recent encounters – both of which took place in 2014.
Top seed Angelique Kerber kick started her run in Tokyo with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over WTA Rising Star Elina Svitolina. The German served with remarkable precision on Wednesday morning, as she hit with an 81% accuracy rate on her first serves and managed to penetrate the Ukrainian’s serve on four separate occasions to secure the win in straight sets.
“I think I like the courts here, because I always play well here,” Kerber said. “They are maybe a little bit different, but the weather also makes a difference.”
Sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova began her week in Tokyo with a strong 6-1, 6-3 victory over Kirsten Flipkens to bring about her first victory since Montreal. She would follow up with a tighter contest against American Coco Vandeweghe, whom she eventually defeated 7-6(5), 7-5 to reach the quarter-final round of the tournament. It was also the first time that the Australian open finalist has been able to string back-to-back victories since the Wimbledon Championships.
“I’m really, really happy with my match today,” she said. “The last two months were really tough for me. I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, and I didn’t feel that good on the court. So I’m happy to start so well in Asia. I’ve been playing well in practice, so I’m happy I could also play well in the match.”
While Cibulkova leads the series 4-2, Kerber won their most recent encounters – the first in Sydney and the second at the Fed Cup tie. Both those matches ended in straight sets and considering Kerber comfort level in Tokyo and her impeccable serving this week, she should be the favourite over Cibulkova this time around – h2h record be damned!
Prediction: Angelique Kerber in Three Sets