World No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska defeated world No.2 Maria Sharapova 7-5 6-4 in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open, a match in which both the players displayed outstanding consistent tennis, mental focus, great attacks and defence. What decided the result were just a couple more lapses on Sharapova’s side.
Those lapses, however, have brought a huge black cloud over Miami in the Russian’s case, as this is her fourth loss in the final of the tournament. Radwanska, on the other hand, boasts an amazing 26-4 win-loss record this year, and unbelievably, all the four losses came at the hands of world No.1 Victoria Azarenka. After Azarenka, Radwanska is the most successful player so far this season.
The first set of the final was tight, as Sharapova and Radwanska held their serves up until the twelfth game. Even though it was Sharapova who was more solid on her serve throughout the set, generally holding it more easily then her opponent, and even though Sharapova earned an opportunity to take Radwanska’s serve on two occasions, the first to shake up the match was Radwanska, earning her first three break points of the match in that twelfth game and converting the third one. Actually, more than earning those chances it was Sharapova who handed her the game with erratic shots. A huge advantage in winners, 16-1, was not enough for Sharapova to take the lead.
The second set followed the same pattern – there was no break of serve until the end, when Radwanska earned two break/match points at 5-4 and used the first one to seal victory.
To win Miami, her ninth career title, after a first-round bye, Radwanska defeated Madison Keys, Silvia Soler-Espinosa, Garbine Muguruza Blanco, Venus Williams, Marion Bartoli and finally Maria Sharapova, all in straight sets.
Additional info: The first post of this blog was about the 2007 Miami final between Serena Williams and Justine Henin. Join my contest to win a beautiful tennis ball pendant that I’m giving as a present for the 5-year anniversary. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)
Brains over brawn, as the saying goes. Funny, by the way, that this time Hogsted didn’t say to Sharapova “She’ll choke.” Perhaps because his favourite psycho-prophetic coaching line made him look silly too often in the past year-or-so. Well, one lives and learns, as another saying goes.
Sharapova looks so icy cold on the outside but I think inside she is a nervous wrack. She just cannot beat her inner demons in the finals,lately.
Maria can only play one way and if it is not working then she has nothing left.