Naomi Osaka vs. Dominika Cibulkova
|Date & Time||Sunday May 5, 2019, 5:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Naomi Osaka and Dominika Cibulkova meet in the first round of the 2019 tennis Madrid Open.
Naomi Osaka enters this tournament winning five of her last eight completed matches since winning the Australian Open, but she’s fresh off retiring from the Porsche Grand Prix semifinals due to an abdominal injury. Health and form are obviously going to be the major questions for Osaka entering this event, and it’s probably best to see how she’s hitting the ball before seriously investing in her game. Osaka has been a bit up and down at times and has had issues with her second serve and unforced errors. If healthy and motivated, Osaka is obviously one of the top favorites to win this tournament. If not, this field is as wide open as it’s been in years. Osaka has won two of her last three matches on clay court.
Dominika Cibulkova lost her first match in Germany and has lost seven of her last 10 matches overall. Cibulkova is coming off a match in which she won just 51 percent of her total service points and had four double faults. Consistent serving has been the main issue for Cibulkova during this losing stretch, as she’s not even winning her first serve points at a great percentage and her confidence has to be completely shot right now. Of course, Cibulkova is a fiery player, so it doesn’t take much to spark that flame and get her back on track. Cibulkova has 35 career wins over top-10 players, with three of those wins coming last year. Cibulkova has split her last eight matches on clay court.
These two played twice, both matches taking place in Tokyo (2018 and 2016), and Osaka won both meetings in straight sets. This will obviously be the first meeting on clay.
Cibulkova is certainly no pushover and more than capable of giving the world’s No. 1 major issues if she can start hitting her spots. A strong start to the game would give Cibulkova the confidence she needs to make things interesting. The problem is Cibulkova has been in horrible form these past couple of months and it’s tough to make a case for her at this very moment.
As long as Osaka is past her injury, she should win this match comfortably.