SINGAPORE – Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova stunned German world No. 1 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday in the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore, winning the biggest title of her career the first time that she qualified for the season-ending event.
“I have no words, coming here for the first time, the biggest tournament of my life. I still don’t know how I won, I put the ball over the net and it went in. It’s the happiest moment of my life,” the 27-year-old Cibulkova said.
Cibulkova joined the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova and American Madison Keys as first-time qualifiers for the year-end tournament.
“It wasn’t easy to go on the court after two losses, but I was mentally very strong and I knew I played well in the first two matches, I was just a little bit unlucky. Then at the end I was lucky!” said Cibulkova, the world No. 8, referring to a ball that clipped the tape and took a dead drop on Kerber’s side of the net on championship point.
Cibulkova, the first Slovakian player to win the WTA Finals, battled Kerber for 76 minutes before subduing the 28-year-old German, who won the Australian Open, U.S. Open and an Olympic silver medal in a breakthrough year.
Cibulkova’s will be the world No. 5, her highest career ranking, when the new WTA Tour rankings are released on Monday.