Serena Too Strong, Outdoes Radwanska
Published October 27, 2012 12:00
ISTANBUL, Turkey - Serena Williams powered into the final of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships - Istanbul 2012 on Saturday afternoon, storming past Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets in 61 minutes, 62 61.
After breaking in the opening game and holding for 2-0, it looked like it might be a long day for Williams as she dropped serve at love two games later for Radwanska to catch up to 2-all; but the 15-time Grand Slam champion broke away from there, reeling off 10 of the next 11 games - allowing Radwanska just a hold of serve in the third game of the second set - en route to victory.
The two shared a warm exchange after the match - in her press conference later, Williams alluded to Radwanska's marathon match from the day before, where she beat Sara Errani in a three-hour, 29-minute round robin thriller, the longest best-of-three-set match in the history of the WTA Championships.
"I probably had an idea she was tired," Williams said about the exchange. "I just told her that it was awesome she played so well and played through another match, after playing a good eight hours. It was really inspiring for me."
Radwanska confirmed the suspicion in her own press conference. "Those last two matches really killed me," she said. "Especially that I didn't have the day off, and especially that surface - it's very sticky, so three and a half hours is a lot. I really tried today and I really wanted to run, but my legs just didn't. This is the kind of tournament where you have to be fit every match to win.
"I was trying, but Serena played too fast. I couldn't do anything."
Williams has now won 17 matches in a row against Top 5 players - her last loss to anyone in that ranking class came in June 2011, in her second match back from a year-long lay-off due to injury and illness, falling to then-World No.3 Vera Zvonareva at Eastbourne, 36 76(5) 75 (and she led 63 53 in that one).
Williams has also won 47 of her last 49 matches now, her only losses since the start of the clay season coming in the first round of the French (to Virginie Razzano) and the quarterfinals of Cincinnati (to Angelique Kerber).
This will be Williams' fifth final at the WTA Championships. She has won the title twice (2001 and 2009) and finished runner-up twice (2002 and 2004).
Meanwhile, Radwanska's season is over, an absolute breakthrough season - going into Australia she had never been ranked higher than No.8, and she made it all the way up to No.2 in the world at one point, finishing at No.4.
"To be honest it was a really great year, especially that I was really close to No.1 - I was No.2 for a couple of weeks after my first Grand Slam final," said Radwanska, who reached the Wimbledon final. "I was in the Top 10 for a couple of years before this, always working really hard and winning big titles, but I never did that well at a Grand Slam and was never close to No.1.
"But now I need a vacation. I'm not going to hold my racquets for the next couple of days. But after that, back to reality and practice again."