After a tough three-set loss in her first round-robin match to world number one Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova entered the final match as the underdog.
Despite her petite 1.61m stature, the shortest contender was out to prove her worth and had all the right equations going for her as she overwhelmed Kerber 6-3, 6-4 to claim the biggest victory of her career and the WTA Finals title.
Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova celebrates with the Billie Jean King Trophy after winning the WTA Finals at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Photo: Action Images
“I think I put out all my emotions of joy after the match point. It was unbelievable,” said Cibulkova.
The 27-year-old, who was making her debut at the event, did not give the top-seeded German space to breathe and controlled the pace throughout the game.
After a tentative first set, excellent defence helped Kerber grow into the second set, but Cibulkova proved too hungry with her big hits, eventually sealing the game with a net cord.
Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova in action during the WTA Finals. Photo: Action Images
“My game is good enough to beat the world number one,” said Cibulkova. “I was going into this final with these thoughts and I was feeling it from the first point until the last point.”
Despite her disappointment, Kerber lauded her opponent for her aggression and her gameplay.
“You know, in my mind, I know that it’s now over. I had a lot of tough matches, and also a lot of great finals and great memories. So of course, now I’m ready for vacation,” said Kerber, who will end the season with the year-end number one rank and two Grand Slam titles under her belt.
Germany's Angelique Kerber was graceful in defeat, lauding her opponent for her aggression and her gameplay. Photo: Action Images
For the pint-sized Cibulkova, who will move up to a world ranking of number five, rest time also beckons.
“The first treat I am going to give myself is a holiday,” said Cibulkova, who is planning to head to Maldives for a much deserved break.
“You know, it’s some time off.”