Thank you for joining me for this match here on VAVEL. A recap of this match will be up in a little while. This is Max Gao, signing off.
Closing thoughts: Kovinic showed some glimpses of what she's capable of, but unforced errors were the reason for her decline in this final. The Montenegren number one was unable to time the ball well on a consistent basis, and was very erratic throughout. On the other hand, Radwanska was solid from all parts of the court, and never really looked troubled despite facing a total of five break points throughout the entire match. After a tough first half of the year, the world number six seems to have found her best tennis again, and will be a major threat at the WTA Finals in Singapore, should she play like she did during this Asian swing.
On Radwanska's first championship point, Kovinic double faults to hand the second seed a clinical 6-1, 6-2 win. This is Radwanska's 16th WTA singles title and second of 2015. In addition to this, the world number six also qualifies for the WTA Finals in Singapore, joining Simona Halep, Garbiñe Muguruza, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova who have already qualified too.
15-40: Kovinic's forehand clips the tape, goes over, but goes out. Two championship points for Radwanska coming up...
15-30: Kovinic chased down a drop shot from Radwanska but could only hit the ball up, which made for an easy put away for the Pole.
15-15: Ace from Kovinic! That is just her second of the match so far.
0-15: Kovinic nets a forehand.
Kovinic will now serve to stay in the match.
Thanks to a net cord, the ball sat up nicely for Radwanska, and the Pole took full advantage of her fortunes, hitting an aggressive forehand winner down the line to hold for 5-2. She is just one game away from winning her 16th WTA title.
AD-40: Smart play from Radwanska -- the second seed pulled Kovinic out wide and instead of hitting into the open court, she hit back behind her.
40-40: Radwanska fends off another break point with an inside-out forehand winner.
40-AD: Wow. Incredible, aggressive hitting from Kovinic gives the Montenegrin another look at a break of serve.
40-40: Kovinic misses a backhand and her chances to mount a fight back are beginning to diminish slowly...
30-40: Big, fearless hitting from Kovinic earns the Montenegro a break point. Can she take it?
30-30: Kovinic hits a backhand long. Big point coming up for both women now...
15-30: Kovinic pounces on a slightly shorter second serve from Radwanska.
15-15: Kovinic tries to come into the net but she makes the same mistake as in previous attempts -- she hit the approach shot to Radwanska, instead of into the open court. As a result, Radwanska hit a stunning backhand down the line passing shot winner.
0-15: Radwanska nets an inside-out forehand.
Kovinic keeps her hopes of winning her maiden WTA singles title in Tianjin alive, holding -- for just the third time -- with an ace. Radwanska is still in the driver's seat though; she leads by a set and 4-2.
AD-40: Beautiful one-two punch from the Montenegrin sets up yet another game point for herself.
40-40: Kovinic nets another backhand, and we go to deuce.
40-30: Kovinic had the right intentions of mixing the play up, but made a mess of her backhand slice, slicing it into the bottom of the net. One game point remains.
40-15: Rare unforced error from Radwanska gives Kovinic two game points.
30-15: Wonderfully constructed point by Kovinic. She waited for the right shot to come in on and hit a superb volley into the open court. She will need more of those if she wishes to mount a late come back.
15-15: Radwanska's backhand slice clips the tape but rolls back over onto her side.
0-15: Radwanska wins the first point of a crucial sixth game for both players.
Radwanska holds and extends her lead to a set and 4-1, courtesy of another error off of the return from Kovinic. Can the Montenegrin turn this around?
AD-40: Kovinic attempts to hit a drop shot but gets it all wrong. Game point #3 for Radwanska coming up.
40-40: Radwanska misses her first serve by a whisker, and Kovinic takes full advantage. Taking the initiative beginning with the return, the Montenegrin played really aggressive, and showed her soft hands at the net with a drop volley winner.
40-30: Radwanska hits her first double fault of the match.
40-15: Kovinic nets a forehand. Two game points for Radwanska to go up a set and 4-1.
30-15: Another return error flies off of Kovinic's racquet. The Montenegrin has decided to challenge Radwanska's first serve... but the call stands.
15-15: Radwanska can't get enough height on the lob and Kovinic smashes it away with ease.
15-0: Kovinic nets backhand return. Unfortunately, that has become a reusable phrase in this final.
Kovinic misses a forehand volley and Radwanska breaks. The second seed is now up a set and 3-1, with a firm grip on this final.
15-40: Kovinic has no margin on her shots at the moment. She's just swinging for the lines and it's not paying off. She misses another backhand to give Radwanska two break points.
15-30: Kovinic misses an easy forehand putaway. Against a top player like Radwanska, you just can't afford to make those mistakes.
15-15: Clever little change-up from Kovinic -- she hit a drop shot which Radwanska was unable to retrieve successfully.
0-15: Some mediocre footwork put Kovinic in an awkward position to hit a backhand, which resulted in yet another unforced error for the 20-year-old.
Radwanska holds to 15 as another error flies off the racquet of Kovinic. 2-1 Radwanska.
40-15: Clever use of the slice from Radwanska throws off Kovinic's rhythm, forcing an error from the Montenrgin.
30-15: Radwanska hits her second ace of the match!
15-15: Kovinic nets another return...
0-15: Kovinic is hitting with a lot more confidence now.
Yes, she can! Radwanska nets her backhand return and Kovinic wins just her second game of the match! 1-1.
40-30: Radwanska nets forehand slice, giving Kovinic her first game point in quite a while. Can the Montenegrin take it?
30-30: Radwanska had a chance to hit another lob winner over Kovinic, but hit it long by a couple of inches.
15-30: Kovinic's backhand clips the tape but refuses to go over.
15-15: Better point construction from Kovinic. She waited for the right ball to be aggressive on, and put the forehand away with lots of authority. The Chinese crowd roared moments after Kovinic made that forehand putaway -- they want to see more tennis!
0-15: Too many unforced errors from Kovinic right now -- the Montenegrin just missed another routine backhand.
Radwanska holds to love to begin the second set. 1-0.
40-0: Radwanska puts an easy smash away with authority. The momentum is firmly with the Pole now.
30-0: Great little change-up from Radwanska -- she hit a drop shot that Kovinic was unable to retrieve.
15-0: Kovinic nets backhand slice.
Radwanska will serve to begin the second set.
Game, first set, Radwanska! The Polish number one takes the opening set 6-1 as Kovinic's lob sails wide.
0-40: Kovinic misses backhand, sets up three set points for Radwanska.
0-30: Kovinic came to the net and got the ball she wanted but hit her smash into the bottom of the net. Yikes.
0-15: Kovinic nets relatively straight forward backhand put away.
Kovinic can't seem to find the court right now, and Radwanska is taking full advantage. The second seed holds to love and is just a game away from securing the opening set. 5-1 Radwanska.
40-0: Kovinic's backhand inside-out return sails wide.
30-0: Clever little lob from Radwanska leaves Kovinic flat footed. That lob is one for the highlight reel.
15-0: Kovinic nets backhand return.
Kovinic double faults on Radwanska's first break point of the game, handing her a double break advantage. 4-1 Radwanska.
40-AD: Umpire Zhang Juan calls Kovinic's second serve out. The 20-year-0ld decides against challenging.
40-40: Kovinic hits another backhand into the net. The unforced errors are starting to really hurt the Montenegrin now.
40-30: Radwanska nets forehand return.
30-30: Superb counter punching from Radwanska eventually draws an error from Kovinic.
30-15: Radwanska nets relatively straight forward backhand.
15-15: Kovinic hits a big backhand winner down the line. Lovely redirection of the pace sent right at her by Radwanska.
0-15: Kovinic tries to come in -- again -- but Radwanka hits an easy backhand passing shot right past the Montenegrin. Kovinic has only won one point at the net in five attempts so far.
Kovinic misses a backhand cross-court and Radwanska holds for 3-1.
AD-40: Big ace from Radwanska to set up her third game point!
40-40: Radwanska nets a backhand. Deuce.
40-30: Better point from Kovinic and this time, she is able to put away the volley at the net.
40-15: Kovinic tried to apply pressure by coming into the net again, but hit her approach shot to Radwanska, and the Pole made her pay for it with a forehand winner down the line.
30-15: Kovinic tried to come in again but Radwanska was ready, and hit the ball right at the Montenegrin's feet.
15-15: Great point construction from Radwanska to set up an easy backhand volley at the net, which was hit with great execution and technique.
0-15: Backhand winner down the line from Kovinic. That backhand had a lot of sting in it!
Radwanska converts her second break point opportunity courtesy off of a forehand return winner down the line. The Pole leads 2-1.
15-40: Better play from Kovinic. This time, she is able to putaway a volley at the net.
0-40: Kovinic's backhand slice sails wide, and Radwanska has earned herself three break points. What a turnaround!
0-30: Kovinic comes to the net but Radwanska hits a clever little slice that dipped at the feet of the Montenegrin, causing the 20-year-old to hit the volley into the net.
0-15: Big forehand return from Radwanska is too hot to handle for Kovinic.
Kovinic nets a forehand return again and Radwanska comes back from 0-40 down to hold for 1-1.
AD-40: Great point from both women -- Radwanska used her signature drop shot/lob combination but Kovinic was able to run both of those down before the Pole pulled out a forehand volley winner out of nowhere.
40-40: Inside out forehand winner from Radwanska. She hits that so well.
30-40: Kovinic just misses the mark with a forehand down the line.
15-40: Kovinic nets forehand return.
0-40: Sensational hitting from Kovinic once again. She earns herself three break points. Wow.
0-30: Lucky net cord winner off of the return for the Montenegrin.
0-15: Great hitting from Kovinic. She has begun this final all guns blazing.
Radwanska to serve.
Kovinic serves her way out of a dangerous position and holds for 1-0.
40-30: Another big first serve gets Kovinic out of trouble. Game point.
30-30: Backhand unforced error from Kovinic.
30-15: Big first serve from Kovinic, resulting in a backhand forced error off of the return from Radwanska.
15-15: Forehand unforced error from Kovinic.
15-0: Forehand unforced error from Radwanska.
Kovinic will serve to begin this final. Here we go!
The players are on court and are currently warming up.
Kovinic will serve first.
The players have arrived and are currently warming up.
Kovinic and Radwanska have never met before, so it will be intriguing to see how both women go about their business in the opening stages of this final, given how big the ramifications are for both. On paper, Radwanska is the favourite to win the match given her current form, but Kovinic has surprised everyone this week, and should not be underestimated.
Next up for the Pole was third seed Karolina Pliskova. Having not dropped a set all week, Radwanska looked clinical against a dangerous opponent, as she matched and bettered her Czech counterpart in nearly every department. Pliskova was no where near her best, it must be said, but Radwanska was as solid as a rock, and never gave much away to her younger opponent. With a 6-3, 6-1 win, the world number six extends her head-to-head record against Pliskova to 5-0, and is just one win away from qualifying for the WTA Finals. “It was definitely my best match of the week,” Radwanska said in a press conference after advancing to the final. “I knew I had to play well — she's a top player — and I think I did everything right today. Everything worked the way I wanted it to.”
Radwanska came to Tianjin with a lot of confidence, which was evident in her two wins over Olga Savchuk and Qiang Wang, where she lost a combined three games in two matches. In the quarter finals, the second seed faced Elizaveta Kulichkova, in her first major test of the tournament. After coming through a tight opening set where the server was broken as many times as they held serve, Radwanska never looked back, as she completed a comprehensive 7-6(3), 6-2 win in just under an hour and a half.
Her opponent will be second seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska has had a fantastic Asian swing so far, which has included winning the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and making the semifinals of the China Open in Beijing last week. The Polish number one seems to be playing her best tennis of the season right when it matters, considering she is still one of six players eligible to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore.
In the semi finals, Kovinic faced fellow WTA rising star Bojana Jovanovski. In the opening set, just one break separated the two and it was Kovinic who was able to use her opportunities when they presented themselves, which eventually won her the opening set 6-4. In the second, both women exchanged breaks and holds of serve, which ultimately resulted in a second set tiebreak. In the seven-point shoot out, it was Jovanovski who was able to get off to the better start, and the Serb didn’t look back, winning the tiebreak 7-2. However, in the final set, Kovinic showed why she is a star of the future, rebounding nicely to break twice and serve out the match to love. With a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-2 win, the Montenegrin continued to make history for herself and her home country, and is now in the position to win her maiden WTA singles crown.
Now through to the quarterfinals -- a familiar sight for the youngster, Kovinic faced Tianjin local Duan Ying-Ying. Right from the off, it was clear that both women were looking to dictate as many points as possible, as their movement was one of the weaker parts of their respective games. Trailing 3-5 in the opening set, the WTA rising star played some inspired tennis to win the opening set 7-5. In the second set, Duan clinched a crucial break late in the set to clinch it, but in the final set, it was Kovinic who was able to hold her nerve when it really mattered, and was rewarded with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win over the last Chinese woman standing, Duan Ying-Ying. With this win, not only does the 20-year-old advance to her maiden WTA semifinal, she also makes Montenegrin history by becoming the first player to reach the last four of a WTA event while representing Montenegro.
In the following round, Kovinic met 7th seed Teliana Pereira, whom she defeated 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Despite squandering a 5-3 lead in the second set, the Montenegrin showed great poise and maturity to regroup and win the final set at the loss of just one game.
Kovinic began her campaign with a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1 win over Ukraine's Kateryna Bondarenko, which was only her fourth win main draw win in nearly three months. That result seemed to give the 20-year-old the belief that she could win matches at the professional level against quality opponents, and that win sparked an inspired road to the final.
WTA rising star Danka Kovinic has had an incredible week in the Northeastern city of Tianjin, two hours away from Beijing -- the capital of China. Coming into this match, the Montenegrin number one was looking to make her first semi final at a WTA event, having made the quarter finals six times in the past.
Welcome to live coverage of the Tianjin Open final! My name is Max Gao and I am happy to be bringing you point-by-point coverage of the final between Danka Kovinic and Agnieszka Radwanska here on VAVEL. From now until the match begins at 2 PM CT, news and notes will be posted to get you up to speed. Be sure to return at match time for point-by-point updates!