Dominika Cibulkova completed a remarkable debut at the WTA Finals in Singapore when the Slovakian world No8 stormed to victory with an unlikely 6-3, 6-4 triumph over the top seed and world No1 Angelique Kerber in the title showdown on Sunday.
Cibulkova lost her first two round-robin matches before beating Simona Halep to squeeze into the semi-finals and her victory on Sunday matches the feat of the 2015 winner Agnieszka Radwanska, who captured the title with a 1-2 pool record. Kerber beat Radwanska, the defending champion, on Saturday to reach Sunday’s final against Cibulkova.
Her first defeat at this year’s tournament was a tight three-set loss to Kerber, the winner of the Australian and US Opens in 2016, but she turned the tables on the German in the final to register the biggest victory of her career.
Cibulkova, the Australian Open finalist in 2014, did not wobble until the final game, when she double-faulted on her first match point and saw two others slip away. She saved two break points and then took her fourth match point when her shot dribbled over the net, with the 27-year-old subsequently collapsing to the court in tears.