WTA Sydney: Dominant Johanna Konta dazzles in Radwanska masterclass to claim second-ever title

WTA Sydney: Dominant Johanna Konta dazzles in Radwanska masterclass to claim second-ever title

British number one Johanna Konta dazzled in a dominant display to stun former champion Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets and capture her second tour-level title in the process at the 2017 Apia International Sydney.

max-gao
Max Gao

Sixth seed Johanna Konta put together an absolute masterclass of a performance to stun 2014 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-4, 6-2, to capture her second-ever WTA title at the 2017 Apia International Sydney, propelling her to a new career-high ranking of number nine in the world.

Keen Konta Moves a Set Clear

Keeping Radwanska under pressure with her relentless first-strike tennis, it was Konta who would initiate the first break in the third game, claiming the early advantage at the third time of asking with a glorious forehand put away. Continuing to keep Radwanska at a distance, the Briton impressively saved an early break point with some fearless hitting, en route to consolidating on her early advantage.

From there, though Radwanska was able to match her British counterpart with tight holds of her own, Konta had the Pole on the ropes in nearly every one of her return games, having had a number of chances to move up a double break. In the end, however, it wouldn’t matter as the early and lone break allowed Konta to close out the opening set at love, winning it by six games to four.

Johanna Konta hits a forehand against Agnieszka Radwanska during the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images
Johanna Konta hits a forehand against Agnieszka Radwanska during the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

Konta Soars to First-Ever Victory Over Radwanska

Continuing to keep Radwanska at bay, Konta kept her momentum going, quickly breaking twice en route to building a 4-0 lead with the help of some imperious serving backed up fearless hitting. Though Radwanska was able to slightly reduce the deficit by securing a couple games on her own serve, there was no way back for the Pole as Konta relentlessly sprinted to the finish line, sealing the victory with an ace—her seventh of the match—to cap off a supreme week with her second career WTA title.

“I’m just overall happy with how I was able to progress throughout this tournament,” Konta said in her post-match press conference. “I felt each match that I was playing I was thinking a little more clearly and getting that much more match-tight, as the saying is.”

“But overall, very happy with the match I played today. I really felt I definitely maintained a high level throughout and I made it very difficult for her to do much today. Going into any match against Aga—I played her twice before—I knew it had to be nothing short of what it was today if I was to have a chance of coming through.”

Johanna Konta celebrates after winning match point to defeat Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images
Johanna Konta celebrates after winning match point to defeat Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

Stats Corner: Just One of Those Days for Konta

Despite making only nine unforced errors during the 81-minute contest, Radwanska was simply unable to match the controlled, yet aggressive style of Konta, whom she was outclassed by in nearly every department. In addition to breaking the world number three thrice and saving the lone break point she faced all match, the British number one managed to hit more than three times as many winners as the Pole, while keeping her unforced error count substantially lower.

“She was just playing unbelievable tennis from the beginning till the end,” Radwanska said in her post-match press conference. “And normally you’re thinking that she can’t play like this whole match and it’s gonna be in a game or two that, you know, you can go forward because she’s gonna have some worse couple of games. But she didn’t.”

“She was just playing [the] whole match so aggressive with pretty much everything in, and I couldn’t do much.”

Johanna Konta waves to the crowd after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images
Johanna Konta waves to the crowd after defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in the final of the 2017 Apia International Sydney. | Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

Zoned in and focused, it was just one of those days for Konta, who will now head to Melbourne as a real dark horse to make another deep run 12 months on from her main-draw début, where she made it all the way to the semifinals.

Destination: Melbourne

With their sights now set on the first major of the year, the Australian Open, Konta and Radwanska will both have potentially tricky first-round matchups, meaning they will have to be dialed in right from the off. The Briton will open against tricky Belgian veteran Kirsten Flipkens, while the Pole will be pitted against big-hitting Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.

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