Radwanska Conquers Zvonareva, Wins Tokyo
Published October 01, 2011 12:00
TOKYO, Japan - Agnieszka Radwanska continued to be the thorn in Vera Zvonareva's side on Saturday afternoon, defeating her in straight sets for the third straight time and winning the Toray Pan Pacific Open crown.
Seeded No.9 in the Japanese capital, Radwanska had her share of trials earlier in the week, rallying from a set down to beat both Angelique Kerber in the second round and No.8 seed Jelena Jankovic in the third round. She was also pushed to three sets in the semifinals, originally leading No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka 63 42 but eventually needing another set to win it, 63 46 62.
Radwanska certainly saved her best for the final. After a slow start, losing the first two games and facing a point for 0-3, the Polish No.1 went on a tear, winning eight of the next nine games to build a 63 20 lead. She kept her numbers clean and her nose ahead throughout the second set and in the end completed a 63 62 victory over Zvonareva, the tournament's No.4 seed.
"I was a little bit nervous at the start, but I woke up after those first two games," Radwanska said. "I had some tough matches this week - and I was playing without a bye, so I had a lot of matches in a row - but I just kept trying my best. It was the finals so I tried not to think about it and fight until the end.
"I'm very, very happy to win this tournament. All of the top players were playing here, and I played some good tennis to beat them."
Radwanska has Istanbul on her mind. "Before this tournament my chances of qualifying for the Championships were very small, but now they'll be better."
The Toray Pan Pacific Open was Radwanska's second Premier-level title of the season, following her triumph at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad in the summer hardcourt season (where she also beat Zvonareva in the final). The 22-year-old Radwanska now has three Premier-level titles (also winning Eastbourne in 2008) and six WTA titles overall (she is 6-2 in WTA finals).
The 27-year-old Zvonareva didn't lose a set to reach the 30th WTA final of her career. She leaves Tokyo with a 12-18 career record in WTA finals.
"Obviously I'm disappointed I couldn't come away with the title today," Zvonareva said. "I started well and broke her, but after that I don't know what happened to me. I've played with Agnieszka a lot and know how she plays, and if I played to my usual standard I could have won, but I just couldn't today. It happens. I'll take my lessons from this match then hope to forget it as soon as possible."
Zvonareva reflected further: "Given everything that has gone on here in Japan, the players had a responsibility to support the people and the tournament. I hope the spectators enjoyed the match, even though it wasn't a great one for me. I hope to continue to support the victims of the tsunami and earthquake."