* Slovakian picks up second career title
* Bartoli unable to recover after three marathon encounters
(adds quotes, detail)
By Matt Cronin
CARLSBAD, California, July 22 Dominika Cibulkova
claimed her second career title when she romped to a routine 6-1
7-5 victory over top seed Marion Bartoli to win the Carlsbad
Open on Sunday.
In an impressive display from behind the baseline, the
second seeded Slovakian was quicker around the court than her
French opponent, rallying from a 4-1 deficit in the second set
to record a morale-boosting victory ahead of the Olympics.
"In past finals I was too nervous and this was first final I
was just going for it," the 23-year-old Cibulkova told reporters
after outlasting Bartoli, who had eked out three-set wins over
her last three opponents to reach the final.
Cibulkova came out with all guns blazing and after dropping
the opening game of the match, she swarmed all over the
Frenchwoman, dictating proceedings with her big forehand and
jumping on Bartoli's second serves.
She won the first set when Bartoli double faulted, and
grabbed the opening game of the second set before the top seed
began a charge, winning four straight games by moving further
inside the court and finding the corners.
However, Cibulkova refused to succumb to the cautious
approach that had hindered her in previous finals and clawed her
way back into the contest when she broke Bartoli in the eighth
game with a vicious forehand winner.
The diminutive Slovakian carried the momentum forward and
captured the title when she forced Bartoli into a forehand
"It was a really important game at 4-3 on her serve where
there was this was this long rally which I finished with this
forehand down the line," Cibulkova said. "And I was like 'okay,
this set is going to be mine'."
Bartoli had taken eight hours and 18 minutes to win her
first three matches and towards the end of the second set, her
legs began to look heavy.
"I think the toughest part for me was to play three matches
at night and then come to the day session, which is obviously
different," she said.
"I played well to get the lead in the second and get to 4-1
but from then on, I started to feel a bit tired and was not
moving so quickly. But she played very fast and extremely well,
so she made me feel uncomfortable as well."
By contrast, the sprightly Cibulkova won the tournament
without dropping a set and will rise to number 13 in the
rankings when they are released on Monday, one place lower than
her career high.
"I was enjoying the final. So I didn't put so much pressure
on myself and when it was 6-5, I just said 'come on, risk it'."
Cibulkova, who captured her maiden title in Moscow last
November, has one week to prepare for the London Olympics tennis
tournament starting on July 28, a day after the opening
(Editing by John O'Brien)