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Sunday, June 3, 2012

French Open 2012: Victoria Azarenka knocked out by Dominika Cibulkova


Azarenka, who almost lost to Alberta Brianti in round one, went down 6-2 7-6 (7-4) against 15th seed Cibulkova.

"It's been a lot of tennis for me in the last five months - I need to rest a little," said Azarenka, who added that she does not plan to play any tournaments before Wimbledon.

Svetlana Kuznetsova , winner in 2009, was beaten 6-0 7-5 by Sara Errani.

Her exit means Li Na is the only former champion left in the draw.

Top seed Azarenka , 22, was far from convincing in her first-round meeting with Brianti and was again distinctly off key against Cibulkova.

She had beaten the Slovakian seven times in eight previous meetings - overturning a set and a break deficit in the last two.

But there would be no repeat on this occasion as the Australian Open champion joined Serena and Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska among the big-name casualties.

When asked what she planned to do after the defeat, Azarenka sarcastically responded: "I'm going to kill myself.

"This tournament is over for me. What's to recover from? It's [time] to really look forward and improve. That's it."

An enthralling 15-minute first game, which included six break points, went the Belarusian's way but after that Cibulkova took control.

The 5ft 3ins right-hander broke back immediately before going on to comfortably win the first set in 44 minutes.

Azarenka rallied to take a 2-0 lead in the second, but the diminutive Cibulkova showed her mental strength to run off four games in a row.

The top-seeded Belarussian was beaten 6-2, 7-6 by the Slovakian 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova and must wait to see if the Russian Maria Sharapova will claim the top spot. Sharapova, who meets the unseeded Czech Klara Zakopalova in the last 16 on Monday and has yet to drop a set in the tournament, must get to the Roland Garros final for the first time to become No1.

Cibulkova, who reached the French Open semi-finals three years ago and had lost seven times to Azarenka in eight previous meetings, collapsed on to her back, a big grin on her face, after winning the tiebreak 7-4 with a backhand crosscourt on her second match point.

The Slovakian will play either the US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia or the American teenager Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals.

Asked how she would recover from the defeat, a stone-faced Azarenka said sarcastically: "I'm going to kill myself!"

Analysing what went wrong, she said: "Pretty much everything, really. I don't know how to describe my performance today… I wasn't satisfied being out there playing that way but I guess it happens."

Azarenka started by winning a 15-minute opening game featuring six break points on the Cibulkova's serve but she could not sustain the pace, dropping her serve three times. She tried hard to find angles but the ball would too often land long or wide on the important points. Cibulkova put her opponent on the back foot with lengthy rallies from the baseline, taking a well deserved one-set lead after 44 minutes.

The second set was a topsy-turvy affair on a chilly afternoon on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Azarenka opened a 2-0 lead, only for Cibulkova to reel off four games in a row to close in on victory.

Cibulkova struggled to keep a check on her nerves. She double-faulted on break point in the following game and Azarenka went on to break in the 11th game when the Slovakian netted a crosscourt backhand.
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