Radwanska Conquers Zvonareva & Carlsbad
Published August 07, 2011 12:00
CARLSBAD, CA, USA - Gorgeous venues sometimes bring out the very best in tennis players, and for Agnieszka Radwanska the La Costa Resort & Spa seems to do just that. Having been a runner-up there in 2010, the Polish No.1 took it a step further in 2011, beating Vera Zvonareva for her fifth WTA title.
Although she seems to figure in the later rounds of almost every tournament she plays, coming into this week Radwanska had only made one final in the last 22 months - in Carlsbad one year ago, where she fell to Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Down a set this year in both her quarterfinal and semifinal matches, to Daniela Hantuchova and Andrea Petkovic, respectively, it didn't look likely she would repeat - but she did, scoring 06 64 64 and 46 60 64 victories in those matches, then in Sunday's final she broke once per set for a 63 64 victory over top-seeded Zvonareva, her first win in three career meetings with the Russian.
"Everything was working," Radwanska said. "Even though I had two really tough matches in the quarters and semifinals, I played very well today. I really wanted to win this tournament so I was really focused from the beginning. Winning a tournament with a lot of great matches against top players is very special."
"Agnieszka played a really good, clean match. She played the way she usually plays, but just didn't make any unforced errors," Zvonareva said. "There were a few moments I could have gotten back into the match and had some chances to change it around, but maybe I took too much risk and made some errors. When Agnieszka's playing well, if you make mistakes, it's tough to win the match."
Radwanska commented on her strong showings in Carlsbad. "I play well on these courts every year," the 22-year-old said. "Last year I came pretty close, and even if I lost today, I would have been happy to be in the final again. But to take the title is better, of course - I had that in the back of my mind."
Radwanska won her fifth WTA title, but her first in over three years. Her first four came at Stockholm in 2007 and at Pattaya City, Istanbul and Eastbourne in 2008. Carlsbad is her second Premier title, the first being Eastbourne.
Radwanska's win over the No.3-ranked Zvonareva was her third career win over a Top 3 player. She has two career victories over No.2s: Maria Sharapova at the 2007 US Open and Kuznetsova at the 2008 Australian Open.
Zvonareva was playing in her 29th career WTA final and is now 12-17 in those. She had a career-best nine-match winning streak going, having gone 5-0 to win the International-level title in Baku two weeks ago and 4-0 to reach this final.