Dubai: Agnieszka Radwanska made the most of the absence of her nemesis Victoria Azarenka by being crowned as the new champion of the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open here late on Saturday.
The 22-year-old world No 6 have suffered all three loses this year against the world No 1, and with the Belarusian pulling out due to an ankle injury, Radwanska grabbed the chance to book a place in the final where she made outwitted World No 19 Julia Goerges of Germany 7-5, 6-4 in front of near-capacity Dubai Tennis Stadium.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, Wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, presented the trophies in the presence of Shaikh Hasher Maktoum, Dubai Director of Information and Chairman of Tennis Emirates.
Saturday night’s win will be even sweeter for the Pole, who will move past Samantha Stosur to a career-high world No 5 when the new rankings are announced on Monday.
“I had to play my best tennis against her,” Radwanska said after the match. “Her forehand is so dangerous that sometimes I could not even see it go past me. But the key lay in me staying calm and focused on the task at hand,” she added.
The dismantling of Goerges — the first German to advance to the Dubai final — was carried out to perfection. She broke in the very first game to have the early advantage only to see Goerges break back in the eighth game to draw level.
However, Radwanska had no plans to give in so easily as she stayed calm and broke back two games later to forge clear 6-5 and then served out love to take the opening set 7-5.
The second set too witnessed some fantastic tennis from both players with Radwanska the first to go ahead with successive breaks in the third and fifth.
But the never-say-die German bounced back for a break of her own in the sixth, but Radwanska had done most of the hard work earlier in the set as she served out for the match in an hour and 44 minutes to clinch her maiden crown in Dubai.