Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska moved to within one step of retaining her Pan Pacific Open title yesterday, overwhelming Angelique Kerber with a dominant performance in the semi-finals.
The Polish third seed, who defeated 2010 champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the quarter-finals, needed just 59 minutes to score a resounding 6-1, 6-1 victory over the German fifth seed.
In the final today, Radwanska plays Nadia Petrova of Russia, who defeated eighth seed Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-2.
“Actually, we played before a couple of times and it was always tough. Even though it was 6-1, 6-1, it was still a very tough match. I really had to run a lot to win the match,” Radwanska, 23, said. “She is a very smart player, she mixed up a lot of shots and she is a lefty, so it’s always hard. I really had to stay focused from the beginning till the end to win the match. Actually, I’m very happy that I played my best tennis.”
Kerber, who received a free ticket to the semi-finals after world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus withdrew due to fatigue, struggled to hold her service games throughout the match.
The German, who broke her opponent in the third game of the first set, had to wait until the first game of the second set to hold her serve for the first time, hitting two aces in a row at 30-0, but that was the most she could do.
Kerber, who double-faulted twice to give a 30-40 match point to Radwanska in the seventh game, tenaciously saved three match points against her, but Kerber then hit a backhand return wide to surrender the match on Radwanska’s fourth match point.
Looking ahead to the match against 17th seed Petrova, Radwanska said: “For sure, she is a very good player and she is playing great tennis this week.”
“It’s going to be tough, for sure, it will not be easy. I’m just very, very happy that I reached the final again. Of course, I’ll do everything tomorrow to have the title,” she said.
Meanwhile, Petrova pulled off an early break in each set and never faced a serious situation in the 107-minute match.
“It was really a good match,” Petrova said. “Samantha played very well, she defeated Maria [Sharapova of Russia], one of the top players right now, but I had a good performance and I’m very happy that I served out at the end.”
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