Riske Averted, Radwanska Wins Shenzhen Open Title
No. 1 seed Aggie Radwanska beat unseeded American Alison Riske 6-3, 6-2 in the Shenzhen Open final in China, her first title of the year during the first week of play on the WTA tour.
Radwanska says the difference-maker in the match was winning the big points.
“I think Alison was really playing solid tennis today,” Radwanska said. “She has a very powerful game from the baseline — I was really struggling from the baseline. I was really in a lot of trouble there…Also in the deciding points I was a little bit better, and I think that’s why the score was the way it was. It made it look easier than the actual match was.”
For her week’s effort the Pole will move up to No. 4 on the rankings, passing Maria Sharapova for what will be the seedings at the Australian Open. She improved to 18-7 in career finals, winning her fourth title since last year’s US Open. Riske fell to 1-1 in career WTA finals.
Azarenka Puts No. 1 on Notice with Brisbane Crown in 1st Week
Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, starting the year healthy for the first time in a long time, ran past current world No. 10 Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-1 to capture the Brisbane International title on Saturday in Australia.
The Belarusian did not drop a set all week in claiming her 18th career title. In the final she gave Kerber no wiggle room, hitting 23 winners to only nine unforced errors, while the German sprayed 27 unforced.
“Every time I play in front of this crowd I couldn’t be happier,” said Azarenka after improving to 6-0 against Kerber. “My dreams come true whenever I step on the court, and I want to thank you all for showing up, motivating us so much and inspiring us so much.”
For Azarenka it was her first title since 2013 Cincinnati, the year she finished No. 2 in the world after finishing atop the rankings the previous year. For Kerber it was a drop to 7-11 in career finals.
Stephens Wins 2 Matches in 1 Day for Auckland Championship
Sloane Stephens won two matches at the ASB Classic on Saturday, completing a rain-delayed semifinal victory over former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, then defeating German Julia Goerges for the title.
Stephens resumed her match with Wozniacki leading 5-2 in the opening set and running to a 6-2, 7-6(3) win over the No. 3 seed. Later in the day in the final the American No. 5 seed at 4-5 in the first set won 11 straight games to eventually win the championship 7-5, 6-2.
“You can never prepare for playing a set and then rain, then finishing the match the next morning and coming back again in the afternoon,” the American said. “You just have to keep going and do your best. I was pleased the way I was able to pull myself together and come back and play well. Just kind of going with the flow — that was pretty much it. Pretty basic.”
It was the second career title for Stephens after Washington last year, and she improves to a perfect 2-0 in career finals. Goerges was looking to break a title drought stretching back to 2011. The German, who entered the week at No. 50 on the WTA Rankings, fell to 2-4 in career finals.
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