Rogers Cup presented by National Bank has given tennis fans in Montreal countless reasons to cheer over the years and has become an integral event of the city’s summer season. Over the next two weeks, we will revisit a few of the Cinderella performances that have happened in tournament history. After Aleksandra Wozniak, Ana Ivanovic, and Tamira Paszek, this week we revisit Dominika Cibulkova’s great run to the final in 2008.
Making her first Rogers Cup appearance in Montreal as a 19-year-old, Cibulkova was already enjoying a breakthrough season before arriving in town.
At the start of the week, few thought that world no. 31 Cibulkova could be a title contender at Rogers Cup since she would have to get through the very best players in the world to lift the trophy. But, the Slovak, with her tiny 5’3” frame, quickly proved that she was a force to be reckoned with.
Cibulkova began her Rogers Cup title quest with a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina and then beat four seeded players in a row, impressively without dropping a set: Elena Dementieva (no. 6), Nadia Petrova (no. 12), Jelena Jankovic (no. 2), and Marion Bartoli (no. 15) en route to the biggest final of her young career.
“You know, I beat a lot of great players this week. Every round, I beat a player ranked higher than me and I played really well. This has been the best week of my career and it’s a great experience for me because the next time I play a final I will be more relaxed and I won’t be so worried,” a satisfied Cibulkova said after the match.
Russian Dinara Safina (no. 7) was ultimately crowned Rogers Cup champion that year. Nervous playing in her first big final, Cibulkova admitted that she played too far behind the baseline during the match. “I hit too many errors with shots that I should have made easily. Every time I tried to come back, I made the kind of mistakes you can’t make if you hope to win a title,” she explained.
Currently ranked no. 33 in the world at age 29, Cibulkova achieved a career-high ranking of no. 4 in 2017. Winner of eight WTA singles titles, the Slovak will be looking to add to her trophy case at Rogers Cup in a few weeks… stay tuned!
Check back next week as we look back at Belinda Bencic’s Cinderella run at Rogers Cup in 2015.