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Cibulkova & Vekic To Clash In KL

Dominika Cibulkova and WTA rising star Donna Vekic both rallied from a set down to reach the BMW Malaysian Open final. The 17-year-old Vekic is hoping for third time lucky...

Published April 19, 2014 12:15

Cibulkova & Vekic To Clash In KL
Donna Vekic

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Dominika Cibulkova and Donna Vekic rallied from a set down in the BMW Malaysian Open semifinals to set up an intriguing clash for the title at the International stop.

Watch live action from Kuala Lumpur this week on WTA Live powered by TennisTV!

The No.7-seeded Vekic was the first of the two to advance, dropping the first set in just 21 minutes but going right to work from there, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and 2-0 in the third en route to a 16 63 64 victory against the No.2 seed, Zhang Shuai. It was the pair's first career meeting.

"It was actually funny - in the first three games I think I won just one point," Vekic said. "I was so shocked. She played very well, but I was just a bit lost on the court - it was a bit embarrassing, really.

"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."

Vekic is now through to the third WTA final of her career, having finished runner-up in her previous two at Tashkent in 2012 (to Irina-Camelia Begu) and Birmingham in 2013 (to Daniela Hantuchova).

"It's amazing, because I didn't have a great start to the year," Vekic commented. "Until a couple of weeks ago I couldn't win a match, and now I'm in another final. So I'm really happy about that.

"You know what they say, third time lucky, right?"

The No.1-seeded Cibulkova battled almost two and a half hours and withstood an impressive 17 aces to beat No.3 seed and defending champion Karolina Pliskova in the second semifinal, 67(3) 63 63.

"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."

No one has done more winning on the tour this year than Cibulkova - this was her WTA-leading 24th match win of the year, two more than the next player on the list (Agnieszka Radwanska has 22).

"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."

The Slovak will be playing in her 11th WTA final, going 4-6 in the previous 10.

Cibulkova beat Vekic in their only previous meeting.

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