Radwanska Battles From Brink To Win WTA Finals
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
After losing her first two matches in the round robin stage, it looked almost impossible that Agnieszka Radwanska would qualify for the semi finals.
Losses to Maria Sharapova and Flavia Pennetta meant that only one scenario would allow the former Wimbledon finalist to stay in Singapore. She needed to win against Simona Halep in straight sets and hope Sharapova did the same against Pennetta.
Good luck with that, right?
The Pole was excellent against Halep, doing her part with a 7-6(5) 6-1 victory. It was down to Sharapova vs Pennetta and the Russian pulled through, giving Radwanska an unlikely place in the final four.
Even then the former world number two was unfancied. Garbine Muguruza had stormed through the white group without loss and was a big favourite heading into the semi final. However the Spaniard showed signs of fatigue. The long match against Petra Kvitova the day before coupled with the doubles meant that Muguruza was not at 100%. Radwanska knew this and played an almost flawless game-plan of moving the Spaniard around the court with her variety.
The 6-7(5) 6-3, 7-5 victory would seal Radwanska’s place in the final where she would play Kvitova. The Czech had defeated Sharapova in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(3).
Once again the Pole was unfancied. The 6-2 head to head in favour of the Czech made Kvitova the favourite, but Radwanska proved the doubters wrong in the early going. Her variety was proving to be a difference maker once again, forcing errors from Kvitova’s racket. She quickly sailed into a 6-2, 2-0 lead.
But Kvitova, never known for her consistency, started to find her range. Not many, if any at all, can hang with the 2011 champion when in this form, and the lead was quickly overturned. Kvitova went on to win 8 of the next 10 games to win the second set 6-4, and take a 2-0 lead in the third.
But her level could not be sustained, allowing Radwanska to break back and run away with the match 6-3.
The win captures Radwanska’s biggest title to date and brings a fairy tale under-dog story to a fitting end. Once doubted to even make the tournament, Radwanska showed her fighting spirit, coming from the brink of exit to being crowned champion.
A few weeks ago I didn’t even know I’d have a chance to be here, and there you go. It’s just an incredible day for me,” Radwanska said in her on-court interview after the match. It means everything. It couldn’t be any better. I think that was the biggest day in my life.
Her 17th title is no doubt her biggest. Her previous best had been the Premier Mandatory titles in Beijing and Miami.
In the doubles there was no shock. Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza were unstoppable all week as they extended their win streak to 22 matches with a 6-0, 6-3 rout of Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.
This was incredibly their 11th title since joining forces in spring as their dominance over the field continues. The Swiss/Indian pair did not drop a set before putting on a doubles clinic in the final.
The Spanish duo who finished runners up still have a lot to be proud of. Originally not even qualifying for the event, Yaroslava Shvedova’s and Casey Dellacqua’s withdrawal gave Muguruza/Suarez Navarro a shot at their biggest title together.
Despite Muguruza pulling double duty, the eighth seeded pair came through to the semi-finals arguably playing their best tennis together. Unfortunately in the final they could not reproduce that form as they were swept aside.