Second-seeded Dominique Cibulkova used her powerful ground strokes to defeat No. 1 seed Marion Bartoli 6-1, 7-5 and win the Mercury Insurance Open title on Sunday.
Cibulkova won her second career title and first since October. Cibulkova had lost four of her five previous title matches.
”In the past finals, I was always too nervous and I was just not playing my best,” Cibulkova said. ”Finally, this was my first final that I was just going for it and everything was going my way.”
Bartoli had a tough time keeping up after spending more than eight hours on the court in winning her first three matches here.
Cibulkova’s strong ground strokes dominated Bartoli in the first set. The Slovakian won the last six games and saved the only three break points in the set on her serve.
”The first set everything was going my way.” Cibulkova said. ”I was playing really well. My forehand was working 100 percent, and also my serve return.”
But Bartoli bounced back with a pair of service breaks in the second set to jump ahead 4-1. Cibulkova then ran off four consecutive games to take a 5-4 lead. With Cibulkova up 6-5, she broke Bartoli when the Frenchwoman hit a forehand into the net.
”I think I played well to get the lead in the second … but from this point I start to feel a bit tired and not moving (as) quickly as I wanted to,” Bartoli said. ”She played very fast and extremely well, so she made me feel uncomfortable.”
Cibulkova, playing in her second final this season, won all four of her matches here in straight sets.
”It gives you so much confidence,” said Cibulkova, who will play singles and doubles at the London Olympics.
Although Bartoli cut down on her double faults, she served them up at inopportune times. Bartoli, who had 43 double faults in her first three matches, had only six. But two gave Cibulkova service breaks, including one at set point in the first set.
Cibulkova won $96,000 while Bartoli received $53,000.