Vekic edges Cibulkova to win first title in Kuala Lumpur
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Seventh-seeded Donna Vekic of Croatia clinched her first WTA title on Sunday after beating top-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the Malaysian Open final.
The 17-year-old Vekic, playing in her third final, prevailed in a match that stretched to almost three hours.
Vekic, who fired 11 aces, failed to serve out the match when leading 5-2 in the third set but regained her rhythm in the tie-breaker.
"I'm so happy — I don't know what to say, I'm so, so happy!" Vekic told WTATennis.com afterward.
"It was a very tough match. She played very well throughout the whole match. I was up 5-1 in the third set and she came back out playing insane — so I'm happy I was able to get through in the end."
Cibulkova, who reached the final of the Australian Open, had beaten Vekic in straight sets at Indian Wells last month in their only previous encounter.
"She played really well today," Cibulkova said. "In the second set I was really close to winning, but she played really well, really strong, and it was just about a few balls out there, really.
"It was really close. It was such a good match."