SINGAPORE -- Agnieszka Radwanska finished off her year in stellar fashion as she defeated Petra Kvitova to lift the Billie Jean King Trophy in Singapore as the champion of the WTA Finals. It was a classic matchup of finesse - power, but the Pole found a way to win, winning in three sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3, to claim the title and finish the year, number five in the world.
Dominant First Set From Radwanska
Both players were 1-2 in the round-robin stages but found themselves in the final after defeating Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sharapova respectively. The Czech led the head-to-head 6-2, but it was even at two apiece at the WTA Finals with Radwanska winning their last matchup in straight sets last year.
Radwanska found herself in an early lead in the opening game of the match with Kvitova hitting plenty of errors early on and would break for an early 1-0 lead. The fourth-seeded Czech found herself up 15-30 in the next game but left too much air on a backhand volley as the fifth-seeded Pole hit a passing forehand winner to get it 30-all. Another forehand error from the Czech consolidated Radwanska’s break. Kvitova held at 30 in her second service game on an ace out wide to get her on the board.
With Radwanska 3-1 up, she would once again threaten to break the lefty’s serve after she her tremendous defense forced Kvitova to hit an overhead which she dumped into the net. She’d save the first break point but conceded the second after hitting a forehand wide to give the Pole a commanding 4-1 lead in the opening set.
The Pole held at love to ensure the double break lead to extend her lead to 5-1. The Czech held once again at 30 but could not extend the set as Radwanska held at 30 to clinch the set 6-2 as Kvitova sailed a forehand long.
Radwanska Takes Command Early Before Kvitova Forces A Decider
Kvitova opened the second set serving, but it was Radwanska who mounted the pressure in the opening game of the set with a backhand stab slice winner to give her a 15-30 lead. The four seed worked it back to deuce and had to save a couple of break points off a forehand winner and backhand slice winner before a third time was the charm for Radwanska who showed off her tremendous speed to get to some balls that looked to put her out of the point, but her forehand pass could not be reached by the Czech to give her a break lead to open the set.
The five seed consolidated the break despite falling behind 15-30 with a hold at 30 as it looked like it was going to be Radwanska’s night. Kvitova earned a much-needed hold at love in the third game to get her on the board as her play looked to be picking up after a disappointing first 10 games to the match.
Both players continued to hold serve with tremendous shotmaking. The Czech lefty looked to be finding her targets in these games as she was growing in confidence. In the sixth game, it was sheer brilliance from Kvitova whose power finally overwhelmed Radwanska with a break at love to get it to 3-all, and she would consolidate the break for a 4-3 lead.
In the 10th game, Kvitova found herself just two points from the set after painting the corner of the service box with a forehand winner. On her first set point, she blasted a forehand down the line to send the match into a decisive set.
Six Breaks In Final Set As The Pole Takes The Match
For a third straight set, Kvitova opened the set serving and faced break points, but this time she was able to save them. With Radwanska serving at advantage, the Czech pounded away at the Pole before setting up a backhand slice winner to get it back to deuce. Two straight deadly forehand returns, a winner and a forced error, gave her the break for a 2-0 lead.
Radwanska would hit right back though to break and consolidate to get it to 2-all and broke Kvitova as a forehand from the Czech sailed long to give her three straight games and a 3-2 lead. The four seed found a way to break right back with some stunning winners to break at 15 and to get herself right back in the match.
The Pole had a couple of break points in the seventh game. The first was saved off a forehand winner from the four seed, but she could not save the second as the Czech dumped yet another forehand into the net to give Radwanska the 4-3 lead. That was enough for the five seed as she did not look back as more hold and a break at love off a netted forehand from the Czech clinched Radwanska’s biggest title in her career.
The stats of the match told it all. With the more powerful game, Kvitova was the one going to hit more winners and unforced errors compared to Radwanska. She hit 41 winners and 53 unforced errors compared to 15 winners and a measly five unforced for the Pole.