Sunday 30 October 2016 16:40, UK
Dominika Cibulkova completed a remarkable turnaround at the WTA Finals as she defeated top seed and world No 1 Angelique Kerber to claim the title.
The Slovakian world No 8 lost her opening two round-robin matches in Singapore to Kerber and Madison Keys and appeared set for an early exit.
However, the 27-year-old squeezed into the semi-finals by defeating Simona Halep and she followed up her victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last four on Saturday with a 6-3 6-4 win over Kerber in the final.
Cibulkova's achievement - in her debut appearance at the tournament - matches that of 2015 winner Agnieszka Radwanska, who also captured the title with a 1-2 pool record.
Kerber, who beat defending champion Radwanska in the semi-finals, had actually helped seventh seed Cibulkova to progress from the Red Group when she saw off Keys 6-3 6-3 in her final round-robin match on Thursday.
And Cibulkova made the most of her second chance as she fired down 28 winners to only 14 for Kerber as well as making only 14 unforced errors to 23 for the German.
The only time Cibulkova looked nervous in the 76-minute match was when she was serving for it at 6-3, 5-4. She missed on three match points and saved two break points before a forehand clipped the top of the net and just dribbled over to give her the victory.
Cibulkova, who will now end the year at a career-high No 5 in the rankings with a 53-21 record and four titles, said: "Coming here for the first time and winning the biggest title of my life, I have no words. Today you can see I got really lucky in the end.
"When the ball just went in on the match point, it was the happiest moment of my life.
"It wasn't easy to go on the court after two losses but I was mentally very strong and I knew I played well in the first two matches, I was just a little bit unlucky. Then at the end I was lucky."
Kerber, the Australian and US Open champion, endured a frustrating time as she struggled to cope with the variety of Cibulkova's shot-making, but she said: "I gave everything I had on the court and it's an honour to play on the big stage in front of my incredible fans.
"I've had an incredible year and I'm looking forward to the next one."