Malaysian Open: Teen prodigy Donna Vekic wins first WTA title with victory over Dominika Cibulkova
Croatian Donna Vekic has clinched her first WTA title by defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the Malaysian Open final.
Last Updated: 20/04/14 7:29pm
Croatian Vekic, just 17 years old and ranked 95th in the world, beat the tournament's top seed 7-4 in a gripping third-set tie-breaker after coming from one set down.
In doing so she becomes the youngest WTA title-winner in eight years.
Slovakian Cibulkova, an established WTA tour player ranked 10th in the world, who was recently defeated in the Australian Open final by Chinese Li Na, took a close first set 7-5 in Kuala Lumpur.
Vekic - widely tipped as one of the next big things in the women's game and coached by Britain's David Felgate - hit back and clinched the second set 7-5 before a nervy and intense finale in which Cibulkova came from 5-1 down to force the tie-breaker at 7-6.
But Vekic, a four-time ITF champion who had lost her two previous WTA finals, settled the tie after almost three hours at the Royal Selangor Golf Club and became the youngest ever Malaysian Open winner.
At 17 years, 10 months and 23 days, she is the first player under 18 to win a WTA title since Vania King won Bangkok in 2006 aged 17 years, 8 months and 12 days.
And afterwards she told the WTA website: "I'm so happy - I don't know what to say.
"It was a very tough match. She played very well throughout. 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."
Losing finalist Cibulkova said: "She played really well today. In the second set I was really close to winning, but she played really well, really strong.
"It was just about a few balls out there really. It was really close - such a good match."