Dominika Cibulkova from Slovakia is one of the tennis stars who will play in the Malaysian Open starting April 14 at the Royal Selangor Country Club. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: World No. 10 tennis player Dominika Cibulkova is hoping this will be her breakthrough year.
She made it to the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne where she lost to China’s Li Na in January. She then won the Mexican Open in February and followed that up with last week’s Miami Masters semi-finals, where she also went out to Li Na.
Her recent good form has seen her break into the top 10 for the first time.
She will be participating in the BMW Malaysian Open at the Royal Selangor Country Club from April 14-20, which may just see a new champion in the 24-year-old Slovak.
In four editions, the tournament has seen four different winners - Alisa Kleybanova (2010), Jelena Dokic (2011), Hsieh Su-Wei (2012) and Karolina Pliskova (2013).
“I’ve had a great season and I’m happy to continue like that,” said Cibulkova, who turned pro in 2004 as a 14-year-old and finally came into her own a decade later.
“I’m really excited to come to Kuala Lumpur for the first time for the tournament. So, I’m really looking forward to it,” she added in an email interview.
Standing in the 24-year-old’s way will be the likes of former champions Su-Wei and Pliskova, and two-time Wimbledon and US Open champion and former world No. 1 Venus Williams, not to mention the infamous Malaysian heat.
Cibulkova has heard a lot about the unforgiving Malaysian weather.
“I heard that the weather is really hot and humid, so I hope I will get used to the conditions,” said Cibulkova.
“But you really cannot prepare for weather like that because in my country the weather is different from Malaysia or Australia. It’s really important to arrive a few days before and get ready which is what I’ll be doing ... that’s the best way,” she added.