SINGAPORE (AP) — Dominika 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.
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.
“I gave everything I could today on court,” Kerber told the crowd while holding back tears.
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 round-robin.
Cibulkova closes out the year with a record of 53–21, which is the most tour-level matches she’s won in a season in her career.