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Radwanska Sends Message To Melbourne

Agnieszka Radwanska was already 8-0 on the year without losing a set, but what she did in the final of the Apia International Sydney sent an even bigger message to the Australian Open field.

Published January 11, 2013 12:00

Radwanska Sends Message To Melbourne
Agnieszka Radwanska

SYDNEY, Australia - Agnieszka Radwanska blanked Dominika Cibulkova in the final of the Apia International Sydney on Friday, 60 60, the first double bagel WTA final since Québec City in 2006.

Cibulkova had a dream run to the final of the Premier-level tournament, taking out three Top 10 players at the same WTA event for the first time - Petra Kvitova, Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber.

But could the giant-killer keep that spree alive? The answer was no - Cibulkova held game points in four different games, but the No.1-seeded Radwanska fought them all off and seemingly broke the Slovak's spirit in the second half of the match, winning 22 of the last 25 points to close the final out.

"In the beginning I think she wanted it too much, and maybe she was also a little bit nervous," Radwanska said. "In the second set I think she didn't really know what to do - I was serving really well and she was making a little bit too many mistakes. I was just playing the same level the whole match.

"She's a great player, a top player, and she had some great wins all week, so I really didn't expect this."

Radwanska was asked if she felt sympathy. "Well, this is tennis and this is sport, and sometimes things like this happen. But of course I feel bad. It was a final and it's always supposed to be a tight, long match - but instead it was 60 60. She didn't deserve that score, definitely not."

The World No.4 is now a perfect 9-0 on the 2013 season, winning her 11th and 12th WTA titles back-to-back in Auckland last week and Sydney this week. She hasn't lost a set in any of those matches.

It was the first double bagel final on the WTA since Marion Bartoli beat Olga Puchkova by that scoreline in the final of Québec City in the fall of 2006. And before that it had been 13 years since the last time.

Cibulkova, whose wins over Kvitova, Errani and Kerber were her 15th, 16th and 17th career Top 10 wins, talked about the dubious experience afterwards in her post-match press conference.

"I would like to say there was an injury, but there wasn't - I was feeling fine," Cibulkova said. "It was the first time something like that has happened to me. Actually I felt I could win every game I lost until 60 10. But when I lost that 1-0 game again in the second set, I just completely broke down and stopped thinking about what I had to do out there. I was just thinking, 'Oh my God, what is happening?'

"Especially in the finals it wasn't easy, because you want to play your best and you want to win."

Could Radwanska's style of play - relentlessly economic, deceptively controlling - have had something to do with Cibulkova's second set breakdown? "Yeah, exactly," the Slovak said. "That's the way she plays. I knew she wouldn't give me one easy ball, and it was making my frustration even bigger. Maybe if she missed one ball on a break point or game point, it would be a completely different match."

The doubles final saw the unseeded team of Nadia Petrova and Katarina Srebotnik take out No.1 seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci for the title, 63 64. Petrova and Srebotnik had also beaten No.4 seeds Liezel Huber and Sania Mirza and No.2 seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka earlier in the week. They now have two WTA doubles titles together, after winning Moscow back in 2008.

"We're very pleased with our first tournament of the year together," Petrova said. "We had good off-seasons and it's nice that it's already paying off - we played some decent doubles this week and every match has been in straight sets, which means a lot. Now we have our eyes on the big prize."

"This tournament gives us a lot of confidence - it was a test to show us where we're at," Srebotnik said. "It was a tough draw for our first tournament together since committing to the partnership for the year, and every match was very, very difficult, but we played well every match. It shows we're in good form."

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