SINGAPORE - Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia is crowned the new WTA Finals champion. The 27-year-old beat world No. 1 German Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 to lift the Billie Jean King Trophy on Sunday night (Oct 30) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Her victory defied the odds, as just three days ago, she had a probability of just one in 16 to make it out of the round-robin group stages to advance to the semi-finals of the season-ending tournament.
And at 1.61m, the fiesty Slovak is the shortest of the elite eight singles player field.
But playing in her biggest final since making her lone Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in 2014, the world No. 8 played fearlessly and went for the winners, especially on her forehand side.
An inspired Cibulkova finished with 28 winners and just 14 unforced errors, while Kerber hit 14 winners and 23 unforced errors.
But with the finish line in sight when Cibulkova was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set, she showed her first signs of nerves as Kerber cancelled out three Championship points.
Despite the wobble, Cibulkova smiled. And eventually, the match was won on her fourth Championship point in dramatic manner, when Cibulkova's forehand shot hit the net tape and tipped over at the other side of the net.
Cibulkova then collapsed flat on her front as she celebrated her biggest victory in her career.
It was also her fourth title of the year, the most among all the players. Kerber, Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska have each won three singles titles.
She is set to rise to a new career-high ranking of No. 5 on Monday (Oct 31).
Even though Kerber lost the match, it was nonetheless an outstanding year for the 28-year-old, who won her first two Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and the US Open.
The year-end No. 1 won a WTA Tour-leading 63 matches this year. Cibulkova and Radwanska are tied-second on 53 wins.