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Simona Halep vs. Dominika Cibulkova 2016 WTA Championships Pick, Odds, Prediction

Cibulkova vs. Halep

October 2016

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Simona Halep and Dominika Cibulkova meet Thursday in the third match of the tennis 2016 WTA Championships.

Simona Halep is coming off a straight sets loss to Angelique Kerber that took 18 games to decide. In the losing effort, Halep won 56 percent of her first serve points and 45 percent of her second serve points. Halep’s downfall has always been her serve and it cost her in that match, as she won just 52 percent of her service points overall. All of a sudden Halep has lost six of her last 10 sets played and needs to put those matches behind her and get back to being the feisty Romanian who doesn’t give away free points. As long as Halep takes care of her service game, you have to like her chances to advance. Halep hopes to make it out of the round robin stages of the WTA Finals for the second time in three appearances. Halep has won 11 of her last 16 matches on hard court.

Simona Halep vs. Dominika Cibulkova 2016 WTA Championships Pick, Odds, Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

Dominika Cibulkova is coming off a straight sets loss to Madison Keys that took 17 games to decide. In the losing effort, Cibulkova won 72 percent of her first serve points and 36 percent of her second serve points. Cibulkova is having a disappointing showing in her first WTA Finals appearance and it all starts with her second serve. In her first two matches combined, Cibulkova is 18-40 on second serve points, numbers that simply won’t get it done against the top players in the world. The good news is that Cibulkova is a fighter and never seems to be short on confidence. If there’s anybody who can get back on track and stay focused, I think it would be the fiery Cibulkova. Although there’s no denying that time is running out for the Slovak. Cibulkova has won six of her last 11 matches on hard court.

These two have met five times in the past and Cibulkova has won three of those meetings. The most recent match took place in this years Madrid Masters, a match Halep won in straight sets. Cibulkova’s last win over Halep came in the 2014 Australian Open. Cibulkova is 2-0 against Halep on hard court.

You should get the best out of both of these players given they need victories to have any chance of advancing. And while Cibulkova has never lost to Halep on hard court, she wasn’t competitive in the only recent match, losing in 18 games. The other matches between these two took place in 2014 or later. Halep is simply the better player here and is another who can take advantage of Cibulkova’s weak second serve.

This is a match Halep should win in straight sets.

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Simona Halep

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