Cibulkova drew a tough first-round match against Safarova, last year's french open finalist. After suffering a bacterial infection that derailed her season, Safarova has slipped down the rankings and sits at No.43, making her a dangerous floater. But Cibulkova got the job done, edging past the Czech 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.
Under the roof at the Ariake Tennis Forest Park, Cibulkova pounced on Safarova's vulnerable second serve to keep her under pressure throughout the first set. But the momentum soon shifted after Safarova finally won a second serve point to bat away Cibulkova's break point chance. Safarova found another gear, breaking Cibulkova's serve in the next game with a blistering cross-court backhand return.
Cibulkova rebounded in the second set, floating a drop shot just out of reach to grab an early break for a 3-1 lead. The drop shot was Cibulkova's go-to weapon throughout the match, employing nine of them during the three sets. A double fault from Safarova cost her a second break as Cibulkova quickly rattled off five games in a row to take the second set.