An intriguing final is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon at the BMW Malaysian Open, as surging Slovak Dominika Cibulkova meets Donna Vekic. Both competitors were forced to rally from a set down in their semi-final match-ups, and will now face off for the second time on the professional tour. Their first meeting also tok place last month at Indian Wells, which Cibulkova won convincingly in straight sets.
World No. 10 Dominika Cibulkova defeated defending champion Karolina Pliskova 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3 to set up her third final of the season. She also withstood a barrage of aces (17) from the 2013 champion but ultimately managed to rally for her win.
“I have to say today I wasn’t feeling 100% on the court,” Cibulkova said. “But every day is different and every day you have to find a way to win. Today was just about fighting and finding my rhythm.”
Cibulkova is not only through to the final, as this was her WTA-leading 24th match win of the year, which is three more victories than both Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska.
“I’m playing so well this year. I think it’s because I’m just trying to enjoy myself on the court,” Cibulkova said. “Sometimes today it wasn’t happening for me, but I’m glad I could get through it.”
After dropping the opening set 1-6 to Zhang Shuai in 25 minutes, No. 7 seed Donna Vekic tucked her chin and pushed the pace in the following two sets, storming to a 5-0 lead in the second and a 3-0 lead in the third set. She eventually finished the match 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to set up her first final of the season.
“At the end of the first set I thought, ‘Are you going to start playing or are you going to break Tomic’s record for quickest match?’ I’m happy I managed to turn it around there. I started hitting it a little bit harder and attacking her forehand a little more, and she started making some mistakes out there. I was able to keep fighting today and I’m glad I managed to come back and win the match.”
This marks the second time these two competitors will meet on the WTA tour, with their first meeting taking place last month at Indian Wells. Cibulkova would breeze through that contest 6-2, 6-3 to reach the third round of the tournament. Barring any extenuating circumstances, this should be a similar contest for the world No. 10, who will go on to win her 25th WTA match and lift her second title of the season.
Prediction: Dominika Cibulkova in Straight Sets