While most eyes were on Dubai at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the Hungarian Ladies Open was taking place. The final was contested between Alison Van Uytvanck, who made her initial breakthrough a few years ago by making the French Open quarterfinals.
She faced Dominika Cibulkova who was looking for her first title since the end of 2016 where she won in Linz and then followed that up with the biggest title of her career, the WTA Finals. Van Uytvanck, from Belgium, would go on to capture the title after a stunning performance which saw her win in three tight sets.
Van Uytvanck Battles Through
Early in the opening set, the Belgian had to face break point so she could avoid going the quick break down. She was able to hold and quickly pounced on a vulnerable Cibulkova's serve in the third game of the set to go up the break. Despite the lead, nothing was safe as the former French Open quarterfinalist held off numerous break chances just to hold to consolidate the break. Both women began to get control of their serve after they were made to work for their initial service games, but a second break and the set was captured by the Belgian who was looking for her second career title.
The second set saw many less chances to win points on the opposing serve with van Uytvanck facing only one early on as opposed to the four she had to get through in the opening set. Cibulkova made her breakthrough on only her second opportunity of the set, breaking at 30 in the fifth game to up the break. Two chances to try and close out the set on the van Uytvanck serve, she took her chance and gave herself the opportunity to start the final set serving, a massive advantage in terms of scoreboard pressure.
Cibulkova had to have rued her opportunities to really get a stranglehold of the final set. She had a 15-40 lead in the Belgian's opening service game and then a 0-40 lead in her second service game but could not come through with the elusive break point as she frustration began to kick in. While the Slovakian could not take her chances, van Uytvanck made the most of hers. She only had two break points in the final set and converted on one of them in the 11th game to break at 15 to serve for the match. Saving one more break point, the Belgian clinched the title.