The final of the BMW Malaysian Open was played on Sunday between the top seed and the WTA’s 10th ranked Dominika Cibulkova and one of the WTA’s new rising stars, 95th ranked Donna Vekic of Croatia. The 18 year old 7th seed was in her third tour level final, while Cibulkova had already won 24 matches this year and was playing her 11th WTA final, having won 4 and lost 6 to date. These players had only met once before – in Indian Wells this year, with victory going to the Slovak 6-3 6-2.
Cibulkova’s route to the final was via two easy straight sets wins followed by a tough three set tussle against 6th seed Zarina Diyas in the quarters. She then really had to work hard again to get past 3rd seed Karolina Pliskova in the semis, also in three sets having dropped the first on a breaker. Vekic played two three setters to get to the quarters before seeing off 4th seeded Patricia Mayr-Achleitner in straights.
Vekic got the first break in the first set to lead 3-2 and 30-15 when rain stopped play, but when they play resumed, Cibulkova battled back to 5-5 and took the first set at 7-5. Vekic again got an early break to lead 2-1 in the second set and held that lead until 4-2 when the Slovak went on a run of 3 games with the Croatian serving to stay in the match, which she did and then broke for 6-5. She took the set at 7-5 to force a decider. Vekic broke immediately and raced to a 4-0 lead before Cibulkova got on the score board. Down 1-5, the Slovak held and after a very lengthy 8th game, broke and went on to level at 5-5. The Croat forced a breaker which she won 7-4 for her first WTA title after 2 hours 51 minutes on court.