Polish Pride: Radwanska Wins First Title
Published August 05, 2007 12:00
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - It was a first for Poland on Sunday afternoon in Stockholm as Agnieszka Radwanska became her nation's first ever Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles champion, earning the Nordea Nordic Light Open with a resonant 61 61 victory over Russia's Vera Dushevina in the championship final of the $145,000.
The final was all Radwanska from beginning to end. She came out of the blocks with impressive tenacity, losing just seven points in the first five games and dusting off the opening set in 26 minutes. The No.8-seeded Dushevina double faulted twice in the first game of the second set to drop her serve at love, which set the tone for another rout as the No.2-seeded Radwanska blew through the second set in just 31 minutes, gaining her fifth break of the 57-minute whitewash in the last game.
Radwanska was devastating all week, starting with easy early round victories over Germany's Tajana Malek (62 61) and countrywoman Marta Domachowska (60 63) then ousting fellow teenagers Caroline Wozniacki and Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarterfinals and semifinals, 64 61 and 64 63. Just 20 games slipped past Radwanska during the week, the equal-lowest amount of games dropped during a title run so far this year, tying her with Martina Hingis' Tokyo [Pan Pacific] run (although Hingis only played four matches to win there).
"I am very happy that I could win this tournament like this," Radwanska said. "It is a big step going higher in the rankings. Every Top 100 player has good strokes, you really have to have something special in order to compete at this level."
Radwanska's achievements from last year, which included victories over Elena Dementieva, Anastasia Myskina and Venus Williams, a run to the fourth round of Wimbledon and a semifinal finish at Luxembourg, warranted a nod for the Tour's Newcomer of the Year Award, presented at Miami earlier this year. She started 2006 ranked outside the Top 300 and found herself on the verge of a Top 50 debut by the end of the year. She has cracked the Top 50 as well as the Top 40 this year and the list of accomplishments keeps growing.
Stockholm was Dushevina's second career Tour singles final, following her runner-up finish at the grass court stop in Eastbourne two years ago. There, she had arguably the best week of her career, ousting Amélie Mauresmo for her first Top 10 victory en route to the championship round where she was stopped by Kim Clijsters. She had been to two more semifinals in between that performance and this week, but had never gotten to another final.
The Nordea Nordic Light Open doubles final was contested Saturday, with No.1 seeds Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual beating unseeded duo Chan Chin-Wei and Tetiana Luzhanska, 61 57 106. Medina Garrigues and Ruano Pascual were playing their fourth Tour doubles final of the season but won their first title, after runner-up finishes at Hobart, Amelia Island and 's-Hertogenbosch.
Medina Garrigues had been the No.1 seed in singles as well, but was bundled out of the tournament in the second round by Slovak rising star Dominika Cibulkova.