Cibulkova up­sets Ker­ber to win WTA Fi­nals crown

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By San­dra Har­witt

SIN­GA­PORE >> Dominka Cibulkova put on a stun­ning show of un­flap­pable ten­nis to up­set top-ranked An­gelique Ker­ber 6-3, 6-4 to win the WTA Fi­nals ti­tle on Sun­day.

The sev­enth-seeded Cibulkova, mak­ing her de­but at the WTA Fi­nals this week, picked the right match to win against Ker­ber dur­ing the week. The two met in the first match of the round-robin stage on Sun­day with Ker­ber pre­vail­ing 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-3.

“Com­ing here for the first time and win­ning the big­gest ti­tle of my life, I have no words,” Cibulkova said. “To­day you can see I got re­ally lucky in the end.”

Ker­ber had won their last five meet­ings, but now their head-to-head stands at 5-5.

The only time Cibulkova looked ner­vous in the 76-minute match was when she was serv­ing for it at 6-3, 5-4. She missed on three match points and saved two break points be­fore a fore­hand clipped the top of the net and just drib­bled over to give her the vic­tory.

“Only in the first two match points I was a lit­tle bit ner­vous, I re­al­ized what the sit­u­a­tion is,” Cibulkova said. “But after that I only had one goal and I knew I could do it.”

From the minute Cibulkova hit the first ball of the match she was on fire, tak­ing Ker­ber out of her game, belt­ing win­ners at will, and in com­plete com­mand of the out­ing.

In con­trast, Ker­ber never showed the skills that led her to the No. 1 rank­ing. She ap­peared frus­trated and un­able to con­tend with the va­ri­ety of Cibulkova’s shot-mak­ing.

“In the first match I played against An­gelique (this week), that match gave me con­fi­dence that I could beat her,” Cibulkova said.

“With this thought I was go­ing into the fi­nal and I was feel­ing it from the first point to the last point. I didn’t let her into the match to­day with my be­ing ag­gres­sive.”

Cibulkova posted 28 win­ners to only 14 for Ker­ber, and had only 14 un­forced er­rors to 23 for Ker­ber.

Cibulkova, who will end the year ranked No. 5, is the se­cond con­sec­u­tive player to win the WTA Fi­nals after go­ing 1-2 in the round-robin stage of the com­pe­ti­tion. Ker­ber went 3-0 in the round-robin.

Last year, Ag­nieszka Rad­wan­ska won the tro­phy after post­ing the same record in the roundrobin.

Cibulkova closes out the year with a record of 5321, which is the most tourlevel matches she’s won in a sea­son in her ca­reer.

“This year has been the long­est sea­son in my ca­reer,” Cibulkova said. “I don’t com­plain. I wouldn’t change it for any­thing in the world.”

Ker­ber ends the year with the most match wins of the sea­son with a 63-18 record. She won her first two Grand Slam ti­tles at the Aus­tralian Open and US Open, was a fi­nal­ist at Wim­ble­don, and cap­tured the Olympic sil­ver medal, which en­sured she took over the No. 1 rank­ing last month.

“It was a tough year with a lot of matches, so I give ev­ery­thing on the court to­day, the rest of the en­ergy I had left,” Ker­ber said. “Of course, when I’m look­ing back it’s one of my best years.

“I will home now and just think about the best mo­ments and the pos­i­tive emo­tions,” she added.

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