Most tennis players bounce on their toes as they wait to receive serve. But that’s not nearly often enough for Dominika Cibulkova. The 27-year-old Slovakian, known as the “Pocket Rocket” for her potent mix of smallness and keenness, shuffles back and forth like a boxer as she waits to get the ball to serve. She kicks her legs up behind her as she prepares to start a game. Even as she waits for the ball boy to bring her a towel before she sits down on a changeover, Domi keeps hopping.
“Why,” she probably wonders, “do I have to sit down at all?”
Cibulkova was at her Energizer-Bunny best in her 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Simona Halep in Singapore. This was a slam-bang affair from start to finish, as both women came out firing and never stopped. Halep, slowed by a knee injury, decided that her only choice was to take the fight to Cibulkova. That’s not a decision the Pocket Rocket needs to make; she can’t play at anything other than top speed. On Thursday, it was Domi who had the better position from the baseline, and the upper hand in the rallies.
“Today I had great rhythm,” Cibulkova said. “Even from the warm-up I was feeling just really fresh and just wanting to go out there, even from the first thing in the morning. I said, ‘OK, today I want to win in two sets.’ I was doing everything for it.”