Dominika Cibulkova battled almost three hours to beat Christina McHale, win the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL and finally surpass the career-high of No.12 she set in 2009.
WTA Staff

ACAPULCO, México - Dominika Cibulkova won her first WTA title of the year - and fourth of her career - at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL, and in doing so secured a new career-high of No.11.

After not dropping a set in any of her four rounds going into the final, the No.1-seeded Cibulkova was pushed to the limits against Christina McHale, needing almost three hours - two hours and 54 minutes, to be exact - to make it past the American in an absolute grinder under the lights, 76(3) 46 64.

And it could have crossed three hours, too - McHale clawed back from 2-5 to 4-5 in the third set, fought off three match points then had a point to even the decider at 5-5 - but Cibulkova held her off.

"I expected a really tough match and this was over my expectations," Cibulkova said. "I have to say, it was an extremely tough match. Her defense was amazing today. We had so many long rallies and the match was so up and down, but I was fighting for every point and I'm really happy I could win this.

"I'm really, really tired right now because I had to dig so deep, physically and mentally."

Cibulkova's goals at the tournament also changed as the week went on.

"For me, this was supposed to be preparation before the big ones, but now it's one of my favorite tournaments," she said. "The resort, the courts and everything - I'm happy they made it to hardcourts.

"I really fell in love with this tournament."

And there was more icing on the cake for Cibulkova. By virtue of just making the final, she secured a rise from No.13 to No.11 when the new rankings are released, finally bettering the previous career-high of No.12 she originally reached for four weeks in 2009 and touched again for one more week in 2012.

It was still a breakthrough week for McHale though - having come into this week 0-2 in WTA semifinals, her marathon win over Caroline Garcia on Friday night put her through to her very first WTA final.

"It was really nice to make my first WTA final here," McHale said. "I think this tournament is one of the nicest ones on the tour. It's a great tournament and the fans are amazing - they're really into it.

"I was happy with the way I fought today," the American added. "I think Dominika played really well today - I was just trying to stay with her. But hopefully there will be more finals to come for me."

The doubles final took place earlier in the evening, with No.2 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Galina Voskoboeva beating Petra Cetkovska and Iveta Melzer in a match tie-break for the title, 63 26 105. It wasn't the pair's first time winning a WTA doubles title together - they won in Memphis a year ago.

Meanwhile, it was still a phenomenal showing for one of the runners-up - Melzer, a former Top 25 player, was playing her first tournament back this week after an 18-month shoulder injury lay-off.