By John O'Brien
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A deflated Angelique Kerber is looking forward to a well-earned break after the German world number one was unable to end her fantastic season on a high when she stumbled to a straight-sets defeat in the WTA Finals title decider on Sunday.
The 28-year-old reached the pinnacle of women's tennis after title victories at the Australian and U.S. Opens in 2016 but Dominika Cibulkova was too quick and too consistent for the German in Singapore as the Slovakian eased to a 6-3 6-4 victory.
"In my mind I know that it's now over. Of course I had a lot of the matches, a lot of tough matches, and also a lot of great finals and great memories this year. Now I'm ready for a vacation," a downbeat Kerber told reporters.
"I will go forward with a lot of confidence for the next year. I think it will be different because I'm starting as number one and this is a new situation for me," she added.
"But I'm actually not thinking too much about next year yet. I'm still here and have an off-season to work hard again and then I will think more about next year."
After winning two grand slams, reaching the Wimbledon final and claiming an Olympic silver medal in Rio, Kerber was an overwhelming favourite to claim her first year-end championship crown but she never recovered after making a slow start.
"I was not playing my best tennis from the beginning and she played very well. I mean, she was going for it," added Kerber, who had beaten Cibulkova in round-robin play at the start of the tournament.
"I tried to give it everything and the goal was to play aggressive and win the match but sometimes you have such days.
"It's the last match of the year, so I'm not as fresh as I would be if it was the first match. I did give everything on court as this is always my priority.
"Today it was not enough, though, it was not my day."
(Editing by Toby Davis)