Everything was set for the great final between Madison Keys and Dominika Cibulkova here in Linz, as those 2 players showed the most during the week, but Keys was forced to withdraw against Viktorija Golubic before the match, due to illness (cold).
This means that Zurich native will play in her second WTA final, on her 24th birthday tomorrow, against Cibulkova who defeated the 4th seed Carla Suarez Navarro 6-4 6-3, reaching her 6th final of the season. This was their 6th meeting and Cibulkova claimed the 4th win, after losing the previous 2 encounters.
If we look only the scoreboard and the games with the breaks, someone would think that this was the battle of two juniors, especially in the opening set when winning the point on own serve was virtually an art! Suarez Navarro was in all kind of troubles basically in every service game, holding serve just twice in 9 games and there was no chance she could catch that deficit in the return games, particularly not in the second set when Cibulkova served better than in the first.
The biggest irony is that both served above 70%, but we still witnessed 23 break points and 12 breaks in 19 games, including 9 in a row in the first set! On the brighter side, once the serve was in, it was a very high-quality match in terms of groundstrokes battle and the winners from both sides.
Cibulkova hit some outstanding forehands down the line, and Suarez Navarro had a respond in her beautiful cross court backhands to keep the crowd entertained. Dominika opened the match with a love service game but after that, both players just collapsed in their own games, with 9 straight breaks! In 7 of those games, servers didn't even have a game point, and they would probably choose to always receive until the end of the match.
Cibulkova closed the opening set by 6-4 in that crazy scoreline, but she had some work to do in set number 2 after being broken at love in game 3. She reached the higher gear and won the next 4 games, turning the result into her favor and to lead 6-4 5-2.
Suarez Navarro saved 2 match points on own serve in game 8 but she prolonged the match for just one game, with Cibulkova crossing the finish line first with a comfortable hold in game 9. Semi-final results: Viktorija Golubic (SUI) vs [3/WC]Madison Keys (USA) W/O
[2/WC]Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 6-4 6-3 ALSO READ: Novak Djokovic: 'I am exhausted, but I knew I could not keep playing at the highest level'