Petkovic & Radwanska Remain At China Open
Published October 08, 2011 12:00
BEIJING, China - With the No.10 ranking and berths in the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships hanging in the balance, as well as one of the biggest WTA trophies of the year, Andrea Petkovic and Agnieszka Radwanska will square off in the final of the China Open, after comfortable semifinal wins Saturday.
Petkovic, the No.9 seed, was the first to win, putting a quick end to the Cinderella run of Monica Niculescu, 62 60. Niculescu had come through the qualifying and all the way to her biggest WTA semifinal, taking out - among others - No.4 seed Li Na. But Petkovic was ruthless, particularly on the return - Niculescu lost all seven of her service games, winning only 11 of 40 points.
"My opponent had a totally different style than all the other girls. I don't think I had a match like this the whole season," Petkovic said. "I prepared differently. I put my two coaches on the other side of the court and made them play slice all the time. So I think I was quite prepared for what was waiting for me today.
"I never underestimated her. I knew I had lost to her the last two or three times. I went into today as if I was playing the No.1 in the world, not playing No.50."
It has been a breakthrough season for Petkovic, not only reaching her first three Grand Slam quarterfinals (the only player to reach three this year) and cracking the Top 10 for a week in the summer, but now reaching by far the biggest final of her career - she is 2-2 in WTA finals, but all four were International events.
"I've played really well this season. I played very consistently and won a lot of matches. It's definitely special to be in this final," Petkovic said. "I've never really won a big title. I was never in the final of a big tournament. So it's different, but it's still a final. It's a long, long road for me to the title. I'll do my best."
"Flavia and I hadn't played in a long time. I knew she was playing well the last couple of weeks, so I was focusing on my game," Radwanska said. "When you're playing a top player it's hard to have specific tactics - you have to play 100% and be focused from the first point until the end, and fight for each point."
The winner of Sunday's title match will return to the world's Top 10, at No.10. Additionally, both players are still in the running for one of the last few spots in the eight-woman field at the year-end TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships.
Coming into the fall season, neither player had Istanbul on their mind.
"To be honest, coming to Asia I didn't think about anything because I was far in the race," said Radwanska, who won Tokyo last week. "I knew there were some big tournaments and I could have more points for the end of the year, that's all. What can I say? I'm very, very happy to be in my second final in a row."
"When I started my season I definitely didn't know it was possible I could be in the Masters at the end, so this is a surprise for me," Petkovic said. "But I've been playing better and better and reaching the year-end final would be a great achievement. Hopefully I can play some good tennis and really deserve it."
"We played two times against each other in the summer; I won both those matches," Radwanska said. "That doesn't mean anything though. It's always very tough and very tight against Andrea. I have to play even better than today."
"Agnieszka is obviously in the best form of her life - she won Tokyo and also played an incredible US Open Series," Petkovic said. "I've lost to Agnieszka two or three times this year. I'm hoping to be a little lucky tomorrow."