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Who Blinks First In This WTA Doubles Face-Off?

Who Blinks First In This WTA Doubles Face-Off?

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

SINGAPORE – Before taking the court at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, we grabbed Sania Mirza, Martina Hingis, Kristina Mladenovic, Carolina Garcia and more doubles partners for a hilarious challenge.

They might be serious competitors on the court, but off of it, who can keep a straight face against their doubles partner in a staring contest?

Check out the video below to find out, and look out for Bethanie Mattek-Sands’ sure-fire strategy for making Lucie Safarova laugh!

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Can Radwanska Defend Her Singapore Title? Five Takeaways From The China Open Final

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

BEIJING, China – World No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska captured her third title of the season on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Johanna Konta to win her second China Open title. With a clean ace on match point, Radwanska capped off a dominant week, which saw her romp to the title without the loss of a set – the third time she’s done so this season.

Asia proves to be fertile ground once again for Aga.

Radwanska has no idea why she’s earned her best results in Asia. She has now won 10 of her 20 titles in the Asia-Pacific region, including the last eight finals she’s contested here. Last year her captured three titles in the fall Asian swing, including the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, and the trend has continued this season. She kicked it off this year with a run to the Toray Pan Pacific Open semifinals, followed that up with the quarterfinals in Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open, and now became the first woman to win Beijing twice since the tournament became a Premier Mandatory in 2009.

On the whole it’s been a frustrating season for Radwanska, who, after making the semifinals or better at five of her first six tournaments, made just one semifinal in her next 10 events, culminating in a surprise Round of 16 exit from the US Open to Ana Konjuh. To see her steel herself and get back to her winning ways in Asia is great to see.

“Seriously, the Asian swing is really the toughest for everyone, me as well,” Radwanska told WTA Insider. “But maybe because New York is not really for me so always I’m home a bit earlier and I have a bit of rest and I practice really hard to do good in Asia. There is always something good from losing earlier so maybe I’m just taking my chances here.”

Radwanska stepping up in finals.

With her Beijing win, Radwanska has now won her last six finals, dating back to her title in Tokyo last year. She can be vulnerable in the early rounds, as many top players can be, but once she gets to the business end of the tournament Radwanska has found a way to stay relaxed and play her best tennis. The most nervous Radwanska has ever been in a final came at Wimbledon in 2012, where she lost in three sets to Serena Williams. Every final after that has felt, at least emotionally, like a piece of cake compared to that.

“I think when you played couple of big ones, you go for the final like a normal match,” Radwanska told reporters. “I think this kind of feeling, it’s just helping you. When you too nervous, you want too much. It’s not really good. It’s not going your way. Sometimes the hand is shaking too much.

“I was relaxed pretty much from the beginning. I didn’t really feel any pressure. That’s why I could win that match in two sets.”

One step short, but progress made by Konta.

As Konta put it, she ran up against “the human wall” on Sunday. Radwanska gave her nothing, hitting just eight unforced errors in the match, and her defense kept the pressure on Konta, who fired 34 unforced errors in the match. She was able to muster just one break of Radwanska’s always vulnerable serve.

“Agnieszka, she was definitely a woman on a mission,” Konta told reporters. “Whenever I felt I could have got a little bit of a foothold in the match, she took it away from me. She played a consistently consistent match, to be honest. She hardly missed a ball. When she is so consistent and she moves the ball around as well as that, she’s very, very difficult to beat. So all credit to her.”

There’s no shame in losing to the No.3 player in the world and definitely no shame in what Konta was able to accomplish this week in Beijing. Making her tournament debut she knocked off two Top 10 players in gritty fashion, beating Karolina Pliskova in a third-set tiebreak and Madison Keys in another grueling three-setter. She will be the first British woman inside the Top 10 on Monday, ending a drought of 32 years, and she’s positioned herself well to qualify for her first WTA Finals if she can do well next week in Hong Kong.

Konta leaves Beijing at No.8 in the Road to Singapore leaderboard but the level-headed Brit insists she’s not too fussed about the qualifying chase. “The way that Singapore works, not all of it’s under my control. It also depends on how the other players do. From what I’m understanding and hearing, quite a lot of us are very close together. I think it will be what it will be once the deadline comes.”

Radwanska hits an elite milestone.

Not only did Radwanska’s third title of the season tie her with Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens, and Victoria Azarenka with the most titles this season, but she became just the fourth player to have won three or more Premier Mandatory trophies. The other three women: Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova.

“The club is small because there’s not a lot of those tournaments,” Radwanska said. “It’s great to be a part of that group. It definitely feels like a small Grand Slam because everyone is playing it and it’s a big draw. I didn’t have a bye here. It’s a really tough week.”

Radwanska building steam towards Singapore.

Radwanska is currently entered in next week’s Tianjin Open, where she is the defending champion. Last year she won the tournament under pressure, needing the title to qualify for Singapore. This year she has far less pressure and can use the upcoming weeks to fine-tune her game and rest. She’ll arrive in Singapore refreshed and ready for her title defense.

“I think it’s more relaxed especially after a good three weeks,” Radwanska said. “I played a lot of good matches, I won a lot of matches against to players. Now it’s time to cool down and enjoy the matches and enjoy my tennis, and hopefully have a few days off.”

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