By Ros Satar
- Agnieszka Radwanska beat Petra Kvitova to become the first Polish WTA Finals champion 6-2 4-6 6-3
- First time there will have been a champion with a round robin losing record, and new name on the trophy for the first time in three years
- Ends the season as World No. 5 with Kvitova No. 6.
SINGAPORE – Agnieszka Radwanska won the biggest title of her career, beating Petra Kvitova in three sets 6-2 4-6 6-3 as the WTA Finals drew to a close.
Certainly from the start of the match, the Pole was showing the kind of intent that often leaves us thinking ‘why has she not won a Slam yet?” Her clever use of angles was drawing a staggering amount of errors from Kvitova as the first set whipped past in a little over half an hour.
Kvitova at least managed to stop the rot, running out nine points on the trot to get things on a even keep having been down an early break in the second set. Radwanska resorted to swatting the ball back to Kvitova – a move of which no good could come.
The decider saw more momentum shifts as break after break rolled in. First one was up, then the other until finally it would come down to who blinked first. In fact it was more who grimaced first. With her right thigh heavily strapped, Kvitova often struggled with her balance of crouching shots, looking in a lot of pain – a worrying sign given her pivotal position in the Fed Cup Final team.
At the end it was just too much as Radwanska broke the Czech twice in a row, clapping her hand to her mouth tearfully as Kvitova slugged a ball into the net on triple championship point.
Kvitova’s year still isn’t over, and although she brushed off concerns about her strapped up thigh, all in all it wasn’t a bad year for the Czech considering the health challenges.
She said: “I think with this kind of tournament it’s more positives for sure. I mean, I had a great match yesterday with Maria, and I just think that today was really big fight and just about few points and I didn’t make it.
“I think was still great even for me. The season was good. I mean, of course I wish a little bit better, but on the side I think could be much more worse. It’s still okay.”
Radwanska may have had that losing record in the round robins twice in a row, but she certainly had the last laugh (especially when someone suggested that some of her prize money be used for presents for the press corp – after all Novak Djokovic brings chocolates!)
She said: “I lost first two matches, but it’s not like I was playing bad. It was still good matches. I just didn’t use the chances. I wasn’t really focus enough and something just slip away and then it was hard to come back. But definitely not bad matches, especially the one against Maria. That’s why I didn’t ‑‑ I just knew being fresh and have a good rest, that is very important for us.
“I don’t know how, but I was really feeling better afterwards, and I think I used to conditions, used to surface. I think I was playing even better in those two days.”
Pause for thought though. Amelie Mauresmo was the last champion not to have won a slam. But then she went on to win two Grand Slam titles.
Radwanska said: “Well, for sure give me more confidence, especially that in a Grand Slam you also to have win and beat couple of top players in a row.
I think here it’s even harder because just eight of us and you don’t have any first rounds to used to the courts. But definitely a good start. I’ll definitely try to do that next year.”
Britwatch Sport’s Ros Satar is covering the WTA Finals in Singapore for Tennis Panorama Now. Read her match reports here.
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