Cibulkova leads their previous matches 4-1. Their most recent meeting was in Madrid in May 2016. Cibulkova won on clay in 3 sets. They have never played indoors.
Cirstea has a poor indoor record. She won 2 of 8 in the last 12 months. She did reach the quarter final in Linz in October. She has not made an amazing start to 2018 winning 2 of her 5 matches. This is her first visit to St Petersburg.
Cibulkova has won 7 of her last 10 indoors. She reached the semi finals last year and the quarter finals in 2016. She didn’t have a great season in 2017. She won just 54% of her matches. She was married in July 2016 and maybe married life distracted her from the training and preparation that is needed at the top of the game. The honeymoon is well and truly over after 18 months and I expect a better year from her in 2018.
Cirstea should be competitive and I’ll wait to back Cibulkova after she gets broken.
Update: Cibulkova went down 0-4 in the first set but fought back well to win 7-5, 6-2.