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Angelique Kerber vs Dominika Cibulkova WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Kerber targets first grass-court win of the season

Leye Aduloju in WTA Tour 26 Jun 2018
  • Angelique Kerber vs Dominika Cibulkova is live from Eastbourne on Tuesday, 26 June from 3:30pm local time/ BST
  • Kerber leads 6-5 on head-to-head
Angelique Kerber. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

Two-time Grand Slam champion, Angelique Kerber seeks her first win on grass for the season when she takes on former Eastbourne champion, Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne on Tuesday. 

Kerber made a false start to her grass court campaign last week, when she lost 5-7 6-2 6-1 to Alison Riske in the opening round in Mallorca, and the former world number one heads into Eastbourne hoping to get more grass court matches under her belt this week as she rounds up her preparations for Wimbledon. 

Kerber's 27 career titles include 1 on grass- in Birmingham in 2015- while she was a beaten finalist in Eastbourne in 2012 and 2014. Her counter-punching style isn't necessarily the best suited to grass, but her strong defence and superb transition game have held up well on the surface, as the German also boasts a runner-up finish at Wimbledon from 2016. Given the quality and consistently she has shown this season, she should once again be loitering around the deep end at the All England Club come July. 

Kerber won her two Grand Slam titles in 2016, but she struggled to back up that career-best year, and had slipped outside the top-20 by the end of 2017- having started the season as the number one player in the world. 

With the weight of the No. 1 ranking off her shoulders, the German has enjoyed a resurgent 2018, opening the season with the Sydney title, and subsequently advancing to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, where she had two match points against Simona Halep before falling in three sets in an epic contest. 

With the exception of a second round retirement in Stuttgart, Kerber made at least the quarter finals in every tournament she entered through the hard and clay court seasons, but that run was broken in her grass-court debut in Mallorca, where she was stopped in the opening round by Riske. Can she get back on track when she faces Dominika Cibulkova on Tuesday? 


Like Kerber, Cibulkova also struggled after her career-best best season, but unlike Kerber, she hasn't quite regained the form that once pushed her into the world's top five. 

Dominika Cibulkova. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Cibulkova compiled that best year in 2016, when she incidentally won the Eastbourne title, along with Katowice and Linz, before producing a glorious ending with victory at the WTA Finals in Singapore to secure a year-end ranking of No. 5.

By her own admission, she struggled to deal with the pressures of her elevated ranking, and didn't get anywhere near matching those achievements in 2017, making just the one final in New Haven, and sliding out of the top 20 by the end of the year. She has not broken back into that bracket since then.

The Slovak has already made finals in Budapest and Strasbourg this year, losing to Alison van Uytvanck and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova respectively, while she also reached the quarter finals in Sydney, but she has also thrown in a handful of opening round exits, including at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, Rabat, Madrid, Roland Garros and last week's grass court opener in Birmingham.

After losing to Daria Gavrilova in Birmingham last week, Cibulkova beat Ekaterina Makarova her Eastbourne opener to score her first win on grass for the season. Can she claim consecutive WTA wins for just the fourth time this year by beating Kerber on Tuesday? 

The former champion won her first four meetings against Kerber, but the German has hit back to win six of the last seven to edge the head-to-head 6-5 in the series. Their first meeting on grass is a tough one to call- but on the basis of the general quality of Kerber's season, and her momentum in this rivalry, I'll lean towards the German to be too consistent for Cibulkova.

Angelique Kerber vs Dominika Cibulkova is live from Eastbourne on Tuesday, 26 June from 3:30pm local time/ BST


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Angelique Kerber vs Dominika Cibulkova WTA Eastbourne Preview, Predictions and Live Stream: Kerber targets first grass-court win of the season

Angelique Kerber takes on Dominika Cibulkova in the second round of the Nature Valley International on Tuesday. Can Kerber get off the mark on grass? Read our preview, predictions and stream the match live online.

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