AUCKLAND, New Zealand - She came to Auckland talking about lifting the trophy, and that she did: Agnieszka Radwanska won her 11th WTA title - and first on the Australian continent - with a straight set victory over Yanina Wickmayer in the final of the International-level ASB Classic on Saturday.
Both players had grinding semifinal wins the day before, Radwanska beating Jamie Hampton in a pair of tie-breaks and Wickmayer finishing Mona Barthel off in a third set tie-break - but with the trophy on the line it was the No.1-seeded Radwanska who had more left in the tank, winning 11 points in a row early on in the first set to set the tone and eventually putting the No.3-seeded Wickmayer away, 64 64.
"It was a tough final but I'm glad I made it," Radwanska said afterwards. "Yesterday was so windy and then today was so hot, so the conditions were difficult this week, but I had a really good week anyway. I played five good matches without dropping a set so I think I'm ready for the Australian Open - I hope I can play some good tennis over the next few weeks, in Sydney as well as in Melbourne.
"I couldn't imagine I'd have this start to the year, so I'm just very happy."
And does Radwanska have any specific goals for the year's first Grand Slam? "This year I'm going to try and go one more step to the semifinals," the three-time Aussie Open quarterfinalist said.
Radwanska had never won a WTA title on the Australian continent, let alone reach a final there, but the trend has been broken and the World No.4 now has 11 WTA titles across the world: seven Premier titles (Eastbourne in 2008, Carlsbad, Tokyo and Beijing in 2011 and Dubai, Miami and Brussels in 2012) and four Internationals (Stockholm in 2007, Pattaya City and Istanbul in 2008 and Auckland in 2013).
Wickmayer was playing the Auckland final for the third time, having won the title in 2010 and finishing runner-up in 2011 (falling to Greta Arn in the final). She is now 3-6 in WTA finals in her career.