World number one and top seeded Naomi Osaka will be up against Dominika Cibulkova in her opening round match at the WTA Madrid Open 2019. The match will take place on Sunday, May 5, expected to be the first match on court from 11 am local time (10 am BST). You can find the Naomi Osaka v Dominika Cibulkova live streaming options, preview and predictions here.
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Naomi Osaka v Dominika Cibulkova Head to Head
They have played each other twice, both the times in the second round of the Tokyo Open – once in 2016 and once last year. And on both occasions, Osaka won 6-2, 6-1! How’s that for symmetry and coincidence.
Defiant Osaka Looks for Deeper Run on Clay
Back to back Grand Slam titles for Osaka and a number one ranking. That should be enough for anyone to be anointed as the next big thing in women’s tennis given how fragmented the title victories have been on the WTA circuit, especially at the Grand Slam level.
Instead, there have been question-marks over Osaka’s form in recent times and the Japanese player has hit back at some of those very questions with a “didn’t I win the last Grand Slam?” jibe.
The issue, sometimes, is that players are expected to display a machine-like consistency in their results and an odd loss here or there makes it tough for the onlookers to understand. That said, Osaka’s sacking of her coach might have added to her off-court drama, leading to an opening loss at Dubai, fourth round defeat at the Indian Wells Open and then a third round ouster in Miami.
And while she did make it as far as the semi-finals at Stuttgart, her withdrawal from there would have been a cause for concern.
Cibulkova’s Struggles Continue…
Former world number four Cibulkova’s now fallen to 33rd in the world and enters this tournament on the back of a horrid run this year. Of the six tournaments that Cibulkova has participated in this year, she has been ousted in the first round of five of them while just making the second round in Dubai.
Her last WTA title came in 2016, a part of her golden run in a year she had won four titles, but since then she has gone through her own on-court trials, struggling to reproduce that form.
The slight bit of a silver lining is that the clay court results aren’t as bad as you would expect from a player who has had a good hard-court record in the past. She has won 14 of the 25 matches she played in till the start of this season on the red dirt and will hope she can push the world number one here.
Osaka v Cibulkova Predictions & Tips
Osaka, despite all that she has gone through in recent times, should not have any trouble in getting past her Slovakian opponent and with much ease. Which is also why odds of 1/2 for an Osaka win are surprising, while 23/20 for a straight-set win give it a lot of value.
Tip: Osaka to win in straight sets: 23/20 (888Sport)