Simona Halep vs. Dominika Cibulkova
|Date & Time||Monday September 24, 2018, 8:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Dominika Cibulkova and Simona Halep meet in the second round of the 2018 tennis Wuhan Open.
Simona Halep enters this tournament on a two-match losing streak, as she lost in the final of Cincinnati and the first round of the US Open. The last time we saw Halep, she was winning just 49 percent of her total service points and was broken five times. Halep is easily having her best year yet and has won 22 of her last 26 matches overall, but fatigue could be an issue for the 26-year-old Romanian. While her mental game has improved and has been key for her taking her game to the next level, it’s not easy to show up every match when you’re making deep tournament runs constantly. With a few weeks off, it’s going to be interesting to see how if Halep has her legs under her and is ready to make another impressive push at a title. Halep has won nine of her last 11 matches on hard court.
Dominika Cibulkova is coming off a straight sets win over Monica Niculescu that took 19 games to decide. In the victory, Cibulkova won 63 percent of her first serve points and 48 percent of her second serve points. Cibulkova won 57 percent of her total service points and converted on all six of her break points. Cibulkova has now won nine of her last 19 matches, playing easily some of her best tennis of the season. Cibulkova has been very aggressive with her return, but she must improve her second serve if she’s going to win this match, as she was broken four times in her recent performance. Cibulkova has 34 career wins over top-10 players, and one of those wins came this year. Cibulkova has won four of her last five matches on hard court.
These two have played six times and Cibulkova has won four of those matches. The most recent meeting was in Singapore of 2016, a match Cibulkova won in straight sets. Five of the six matches have been decided in straight sets. Cibulkova is 3-0 against Halep on hard court.
Cibulkova has clearly owned Halep over the years, but she hasn’t played her in two years, and this is the best version of her we’ve ever seen. Assuming Halep doesn’t come in this tournament rusty after some serious time off, she should have little trouble in this match given the way she’s played all year. Cibulkova has also had issues with her second serve at times.
Close, competitive match, but I side with Halep.