Monday, August 9, 2010

Daily Reports: WTA San Diego Final!

Unseeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova has won her first WTA Tour title since Beijing 2009 after beating number fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 64 67(7) 63 in Mercury Insurance Open women's singles final played on Sunday.

It was another perfect start for Kuznetsova, she took a quick 5-1 lead in the first set thanks to some extremely hard hitting. Her famous forehand side was working perfectly, hitting more winners than unforced errors. On the other hand Radwanska was making a lot of unforced errors, which is quite unusual to see from her. Of course, some of Radwanska's unforced errors were due to Kuznetsova smashing the ball back to Radwanska's side of the court. At 5-1 down, Radwanska finally found her game, and was able to make things far more competitive, managing to get the first set back to 5-4. But Kuznetsova finally brought the set to a close, serving it out to love.

The Pole managed to remain competitive at the start of the second set. She was even more aggressive and her serve, especially, was working very well, clocking a few aces. Kuznetsova continued her solid play from the first set into the second. There was a crucial, long game at 2-2 where Radwanska failed to convert two game points, thanks to some poorly executed net approaches, allowing Kuznetsova to break for the first time in the set, and go up 3-2. An injury to her left foot forced Radwanska to take a medical timeout. It didn't look dramatic, though, and, in my opinion, didn't even influence the match progress after. She had to take another medical timeout two games later, due to a poor taping on her injured foot. Both players held their next service games, leaving the Russian to serve for the title at 64 54. Kuznetsova failed miserably to close it out, giving her opponent the opportunity to get back into the match. Despite her, thus far, poor break point conversion rate, Radwanska managed to level the score at 5-5 after capitalising on her third break point of the game. Both players held their next service games forcing the second set to be decided by a tie-break. It looked like Kuznetsova was going to take the breaker easily, and win the match in straight sets. She played well to go up 4-0 and then 6-3, giving her three championship points. But as at 64 54, Kuznetsova got very nervous, made unforced errors and double faulted to draw the score 6-6. In return Radwanska also double faulted giving Kuznetsova her fourth match point, 7-6. It looked like Kuznetsova didn't want to win the match, as she hit another double fault, 7-7. Radwanska showed some great defensive skills and hit a forehand passing shot winner cross-court. Unlike Kuznetsova, Radwanska took her first set point to win this second set 9-7 in the tie-break.

Some would have expected Kuznetsova to lose this match after wasting such an opportunity. But she’s a great champion and proved she was mentally tough enough to forget the second set by holding her serve to love but, as did Radwanska in the next game. The Pole came back from 40-15 down to break in the third game and take a 2-1 lead. But Kuznetsova never gives up. Some fantastic play from her, combined with a drop in Radwanska’s level, saw the Russian win four games in a row, to lead the third set 5-2. Radwanska tried to come back again, holding her serve at 2-5 but Kuznetsova didn't allow for anymore drama. She kept focused and served out the match to love, finishing off with a backhand down the line winner. 

Since the beginning of the match Kuznetsova was very motivated, maybe it cost her the second set. She was often annoyed at herself and her body language wasn't the best. But she played very well during key points, apart from the end of the second set. Radwanska was calm as usual, she did gesture a bit when she hit a wild unforced error though. It was definitely a delight for Kuznetsova to win a title after such a long time and it was thoroughly deserved. Radwanska shouldn't be disappointed, it was a great run for her and will help to keep her TOP 10 ranking.

Here's the match point uploaded by me on Youtube:


The doubles title goes to Russian Maria Kirilenko and her partner Chinese Jie Zheng. This very interesting team managed to beat second highest seeded team consisted of Lisa Raymond (USA) and Rennae Stubbs of Australia. It was a very competitive final as Kirilenko/Zheng were on fire on their serve and allowed the other team to break them only once which resulted in a 64 64 win after 76 minutes of fight.

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