Slovak star Dominika Cibulkova upset world number one Angelique Kerber by 6-3, 6-4 in the title showdown of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Sunday. In the doubles finals, Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova 7-5 (7-5), 6-3.
Cibulkova dominated the proceedings from the very first minute and showed tremendous mastery in the baseline exchanges to win the first set by 6-3. The Slovak continued her assault in the second set to dismantle the top-seeded Kerber to win the Billie Jean King trophy and a cheque for $2.05 million, the biggest payday of her life.
Despite losing the first two round-robin matches in the tournament, Cibulkova made it to the semifinal through an aligning of stars – she had to defeat Simona Halep in straight sets and ironically, Kerber had to win her last round-robin match. After those panned out, Cibulkova defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinal in a three-setter before eventually defeating world number one Kerber to be the champion of the tournament. This matches the record of 2015 WTA World Tour Finals winner Agnieszka Radwanska, who won the trophy with a 1-2 pool record.
After winning the Trophy, Cibulkova said, "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!"
Cibulkova had lost to Kerber in the first match of the tournament in a grueling three-set encounter but turned the tables in a dramatic manner to pull off the upset. With the victory, Cibulkova ended a brilliant season for Kerber who won two Grand Slam trophies and reached the final of a third.
In the doubles finals, Russian Olympic champions Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina beat US Open winners Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova 7-5 (7-5), 6-3 to lift the Martina Navratilova Trophy.