INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Simona Halep has been making headlines for her pending rise to World No.5, but one of the players she'll be joining in the Top 5 put that momentum on hold - at least for this week. World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska held Halep off in the semis of the BNP Paribas Open.
Perhaps inspired by losing their last two meetings, Radwanska came out firing, storming out to a 4-0 lead, even holding a point for 5-0 - Halep won that game and got a few games on the board but it was a little bit too late, as Radwanska served out the opening frame, 6-3, punctuating it with an ace.
Halep started the second set well - she broke for a 3-1 lead - but the No.2-seeded Radwanska crept back up on the No.6-seeded Halep, reeling off five of the next six games to close the match out, 63 64.
"I played her a couple of weeks ago, so I kind of knew how she's playing - obviously she had really great results for the last couple months," Radwanska said afterwards. "First of all, she's a very solid player. A lot of things come back and she's really playing deep balls. What I was trying to do today was play aggressive from the beginning of the match and really just try to go for my shots. I was lucky."
Radwanska was asked to elaborate on that aggression. "Just going forward, going to the net if there's any chance," she said. "Of course I think I was serving better than other days, so that helped today."
She was also asked if she will bring cheesecake to the press if she wins the title.
"No problem. You have it," Radwanska promised.
Halep, who will rise from No.7 to No.5 on the new rankings despite the loss, was gracious in defeat.
"She played really well - she deserved to win today," Halep said. "Every ball was in for her, and I had to run a lot. I think I started the match a bit too soft. I was not ready to play. But she was playing great, and she's a great player. Her game is very difficult for me. It's always difficult to play her.
"She was just better than me today. For sure she will do great in the final on Sunday."
The Romanian - who will actually become the highest-ranked Romanian in WTA history, bettering the woman she's currently tied with, former World No.7 Irina Spirlea - was also thrilled with her tournament.
"This tournament was very, very great for me. I played really good matches here, and I'm very happy because I did semifinals. And I came after an injury - it was a small injury, but it was an injury, and it wasn't easy. So I just want to enjoy my result. Tomorrow I'll go to the pool and go shopping again.
"And I have to be happy for my new ranking. It's No.5 in the world and it's amazing for me. I'm not sad because I lost here. It happens. That's tennis. I have to understand I cannot win every match."