By Erik Gudris | Sunday, August 10, 2014
Agnieszka Radwanska proved too steady for Venus Williams as she claimed her first title of the season in Montreal.
Photo Credit: AP
No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska may not have been talked about much before the start of this week's Rogers Cup in Montreal. Yet the crafty Polish star survived a week of upsets to win her first title of the year with a fine performance in Sunday's final.
Waiting for her there was the talk of the tournament in Venus Williams playing in her first WTA Premier Mandatory event final since Madrid 2010. Williams won not one, but two tough and entertaining matches to get there. First a night thriller over Angelique Kerber earlier in the week. Then, the 25th installment of her friendly rivalry with sister and World No. 1 Serena Williams, her first win over her little sister in five years.
While Williams certainly was expected to bring her trademark big hitting against Radwanska, the Pole brought out her weapons as well, namely spin, depth and variation. That combination appeared to throw off Williams early in the opening set.
After holding her serve to start, Williams found it difficult to find her range, especially on her forehand side that had paid her dividends all week. Racking up 12 unforced winners, Williams found herself down 1-4.
Williams recovered by breaking Radwanska with a massive return winner for 2-4. An easy smash a few points later brought her back on serve. Yet Williams missed out twice on makable second serve returns when she had Radwanska at 15-40 in the next game. Radwanska would hold serve there and then again to take the set 6-4.
By now, Williams had racked up 24 unforced errors compared to Radwanska's tidy number of just 6.
Williams struggled again in the opening game of the second set as she dropped serve. She rebounded by breaking back for 2-all, but her momentum was short-lived. Radwanska would break Williams at love after the American sent a forehand into the net.
Radwanska wouldn't look back after that as she continued mixing up the pace and directions of her shots. Soon, Radwanska served for the match up 5-2. With a final ace out wide on match point, Radwanska celebrated the 6-4, 6-2 win.
Radwanska hit 12 winners and just 8 unforced errors on the day. Williams, though enjoying 25 winners, hit too many errors at 41 total. Williams also hit only 47% first serves.
Montreal is the first title of the year for Radwanska and the 14th of her career.
"First off I have to say wow, this is the first time I've ever won a match in Canada since I turned professional 20 years ago. I never imagined I would get to the finals of this tournament," Williams said. "And I have to congratulate Agnieszka on a wonderful tournament and a wonderful final," she continued. "I can't wait until we play again. I'm sure that will be many, many times in the future."
An excited Radwanska showed her excitement in winning the title.
"I've been playing here for years, a couple of times I made the semifinals, and I kept trying and trying, and now I've finally done it," Radwanska said. I've always liked Canada, but now I think I just love Canada."