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Cibulkova on verge of Top 10

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Originally published on 25/03/14

The Slovak, who started the season at No.23 in the world rankings but reached her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open before lifting the title in Acapulco last month, survived a sprited fightback from Venus Williams to win 6-1 5-7 6-3 at Crandon Park on Tuesday.

“I played against Venus Williams and I knew it was going to be tough,” Cibulkova said. “I knew she would fight and she would come back. She’s a great champion.”

Standing between Cibulkova and a place in the sport’s elite is No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who she beat in straight sets in the Australian Open semi-finals. Radwanska, a runner-up in Indian Wells last week, battled past Elina Svitolina 7-6(5) 5-7 6-2 to book her place in the last eight.

"It was really tricky because I didn't know her and she played really solid tennis in all three sets," Radwanska said of Svitolina, who is set to overtake Madison Keys as the highest-ranked teenager on the WTA. "She's a great player and had a really good run here – a couple of very good wins. I think she's really playing some very good tennis these days."

Should Cibulkova navigate her way past Radwanska, she will go on to face either Li Na or Caroline Wozniacki, who dropped just three games between them in their fourth round matches. Second seed Li eased past Carla Suarez Navarro 6-0 6-2, while Caroline Wozniacki won 74% of points on Varvara Lepchenko’s serve as she crushed the American 6-0 6-1.

In the top half of the draw, top seed Serena Williams saved six break points as she defeated world No.104 Coco Vandeweghe to set up a quarter-final clash with Angelique Kerber, a 6-4 1-6 6-3 winner over Ekaterina Makarova.

In the final quarter-final, Maria Sharapova will meet Petra Kvitova for the first time since the 2012 French Open after both players came from behind to win their respective fourth-round matches in three sets. Sharapova, who leads the head-to-head 4-2, came from a set down to defeat Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-4 6-1, while Kvitova won 12 games in a row to defeat Ana Ivanovic 3-6 6-0 6-0.

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