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By Chris Oddo

cibulkova (July 22, 2012)—Dominika Cibulkova stormed back from a 4-1 deficit in the second set to defeat top-seeded Marion Bartoli 6-1, 7-5 in the Mercury Insurance Open final on Sunday afternoon.

The Slovakian rises to No. 13 in the WTA rankings with the win, which was her second career title in six career finals.

“In the past finals I was too nervous and this was the first final I was just going for it,” said Cibulkova afterwards.

In a heated battle that featured aggressive shot-making from both players, Cibulkova found her range earlier, and more often in the one-hour, thirty-five-minute clash of two of the tour’s most intense competitors.

The 23-year-old Slovakian fought off all three break points she faced in the first set while winning 14 out of 24 points against the Bartoli serve and breaking three times.

In the second, it was Bartoli who raced out to an early lead, building a 4-1 cushion before Cibulkova rallied to take the next four games, winning 16 of 19 points to lead 5-4.

Bartoli would then stem the Cibulkova tide periodically, holding serve to 15 to level the set at five-all, but the determined second-seed proceeded to take the next two games to close out her first WTA title since she defeated Kaia Kanepi in the Moscow final last October.

The victory was Cibulkova’s 14th against top ten opposition and the 250th win of her career against 154 losses.

Hercog Defends Bastad by Beating Johansson in Thriller


21-year-old Polona Hercog had another fantastic week in Bastad, defending her 2011 title with a come-from-behind 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over France’s Mathilde Johansson in the Sony Swedish Open final on Sunday.

"Second year in a row is amazing,” said an elated Hercog afterwards. “Bastad has some kind of magic power for me, I guess.”

It was a match of ebbs and flows that saw Johansson win the first seven games of the match before Hercog rallied to save face by taking the second set 6-4.

In the third set it appeared that a repeat was in the cards for Hercog, as the Slovenian jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but Johansson—in search of her first career title—mounted a furious comeback to level the set at 5-all.

But Hercog, who came to Bastad on a four-match losing streak and winless since her semifinal run in Charleston this April, won the final two games to complete her title defense.


(Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/ Getty)

 

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