Dominika Cibulkova revealed she had felt confident about stunning the world number one Angelique Kerber after clinching her maiden WTA Finals Women's singles title on Sunday.
Cibulkova, in her first appearance at the year-ending tournament, defeated Kerber in straight sets (6-3, 6-4) to clinch one of the biggest titles of her career. The win also has helped her achieve a career-best ranking of five.
However, the 27-year-old's route to glory in Singapore was filled with uncertainties. After losing her first two round-robin matches in the Red Group to Kerber and Madison Keys, the seventh seed looked nowhere near making it to the semi-final.
A straight set win against third seed Simona Halep and Kerber's win against Keys helped Cibulkova seal a semi-final spot. Svetlana Kuznetsova made her sweat in the final by taking the first set with ease (6-1). However, the Slovak was no mood to give up and came back from behind to win the encounter 1-5, 7-5, 6-4.
Cibulkova also became the second only player to clinch the title after having a 1-2 record in the round-robin stages of the tournament. Notably, it was Agnieszka Radwanska who went on to beat Petra Kvitova in the final after a similar record in the group stages in Singapore in 2015.
Despite failing to convert two match points, Cibulkova sealed the match in her third attempt with a little bit of help from the net as well. The champion player said she was unnerved by the occasion and conceded that she was a little lucky as well.
"My game is good enough to beat the world No. 1, and I went into the final with these thoughts, and I was feeling it from the first point until the last point," Cibulkova was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.
"On her break points I just hit unbelievable winners from the forehand. I got a little lucky on the [last] match point, but you get lucky when you deserve to get lucky.
"I stayed calm and I knew I have to stay focused and just to forget [the missed match points] really quickly, to focus on the serve and what I want to do next."
On the other hand, Kerber, who missed an opportunity to assert her dominance in the absence of her arch-rival Serena Williams, said she was looking forward to her vacation after having fought tough battles in 2016.
Notably, the 28-year-old won the Australian Open and the US Open and failed to cross the final hurdle at Wimbledon in what has been one of the most successful seasons of her career.
"I had a lot of tough matches [this year], and also a lot of great finals and great memories. So of course now I'm ready for the vacation."