The Streak Continues: Radwanska Wins Beijing
Published October 09, 2011 12:00
BEIJING, China - A massive Premier-level title and valuable points for the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - there was a lot on the line in the final of the China Open on Sunday night and Agnieszka Radwanska had just enough left in the tank to grab it, edging the hard-hitting Andrea Petkovic in a two-hour, 34-minute championship marathon in the Chinese capital, 75 06 64.
More than half of the final took place in the first set, which lasted an hour and 24 minutes alone. The No.11-seeded Radwanska kept building leads, with the No.9-seeded Petkovic catching up every time - double break and 4-1 to double break back and 4-all, another break for 5-4 to another break back for 5-all - but after breaking again for 6-5 she finally consolidated, serving the set out, 7-5.
Petkovic retaliated with major firepower in a complete contrast of a second set, her forehand in full flight as she raced to a 25-minute bagel; but Radwanska broke in the first game of the third and was right back in it, eventually getting the decisive break for 5-4 and easily serving it out for the biggest title of her career.
The match was so close, Petkovic actually won more points: 101 to 100. But Radwanska won the ones that counted most and continued her mastery over Petkovic, improving to 5-0 lifetime in the pair's head-to-head series.
"I'm very, very happy Andrea and I could play such an amazing match. Both of us played unbelievable," Radwanska said. "The first set was very tight, game by game. Then she killed me in the second set - I had chances, I was up 30-0 a few times, but it went by so quickly. It was hard to come back but I did, and in the end it was just a couple of points. I think it was the best final I've played.
"This is the biggest title of my career. It means a lot to me."
"Me and Agnieszka always have long matches. Even when it's two sets we always play very long rallies and always play good matches," Petkovic said. "In two or three days, when the disappointment settles a little bit, I'll be able to look back at this as a really great match and great entertainment for the people.
"She has beaten me five times now - I really have to turn this head-to-head around. I actually love playing against her - I just want to beat her one day."
Radwanska had won three Premier-level titles before but this was her first at a Premier Mandatory event. She will not only return to a career-high No.8 now, her 90th career week in the Top 10, but she is now the leading contender for the eighth and final berth at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.
"If someone said I was going to win these two tournaments, I'd say they were crazy. All of the top players were playing," Radwanska said. "But I was playing better and better every match, especially in Tokyo. I feel like Tokyo was my biggest title already so when I came here I felt like I had nothing to lose. I just tried to keep going and not think about anything, and just fight for every point."
Petkovic was playing by far the biggest WTA final of her career, all four of her previous finals coming at the International level. She is now 2-3 in WTA finals.