Tennis

Published: Sunday April 20, 2014 MYT 11:34:00 PM
Updated: Monday April 21, 2014 MYT 1:20:12 AM

Vekic stuns Cibulkova to win M'sian Open

Croatia's Donna Vekic becomes the youngest ever BMW Malaysian Open winner by beating world No.10 Dominika Cibulkova. - M. Azhar / THE STAR

Croatia's Donna Vekic becomes the youngest ever BMW Malaysian Open winner by beating world No.10 Dominika Cibulkova. - M. Azhar / THE STAR

KUALA LUMPUR: Youngster Donna Vekic of Croatia screamed in sheer delight after winning her first-career WTA Tour title. 

On Sunday, the 17-year-old Vekic created history by winning the BMW Malaysian Open tennis championship in superb fashion. She beat top seed and world No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia with an astounding 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) win in a thrilling final at the Royal Selangor Golf Club that lasted two hours and 50 minutes.

With her win, Vekic becomes the youngest player to win the Malaysian Open. She had also lost her two previous WTA Tour finals – in Birmingham (2013) and Tashkent (2012).

She was happy to get it right in her third attempt.

“It is so amazing ... I am so happy that just do not know what to say,” said Vekic, who turned pro four years ago.

“It was a very tough match. Cibulkova played so well. I was 5-1 up in the third set but she played superbly to get back into the game.

“The fans really helped me to get over the tough moments ... I am so grateful to them,” she added. 

The opening set started in an explosive fashion with both snapping at each other’s heels but it was the younger Vekic who showed more initiatives for a break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead.

As Vekic was just getting all fired up, rain came and the match was suspended after just 22 minutes of play. 

When the contest resumed, the tempo changed with Cibulkova dominating from the baseline with her strong forehand returns to nick it with a 7-5 win.

The Croatian, however, showed that she was made of sterner stuff when she fought back valiantly to grab two breaks for a 3-1 lead. 

Cibulkova raised the level of play but a persistent Vekic just kept fighting and her perseverance paid off with a sensational 7-5 win.

Determined to ride on the momentum, the youngster went into the decider oozing with confidence and quickly surged to a 5-1 lead but blew away seven match points. 

She allowed Cibulkova to level the score at 5-5. Fortunately, Vekic stayed focused to record her most memorable win.

In the doubles final, 20-year-old Chan Hao-ching of Taiwan trooped out as winner in a battle against her elder sister Yung-jan. 

Top seeds Hao-ching and Timea Babos of Hungary took the lead from the start to beat Yung-jan and Zheng Saisai of China with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win.

Tags / Keywords: Sport, Tennis, Tennis, BMW Malaysian Open, Donna Vekic, Dominika Cibulkova

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