Radwanska knocks off Sharapova for Miami crown|
Key Biscayne, FL (Sports Network) - Maria Sharapova again came up short at the
Sony Ericsson Open, losing in the final for a fourth time in as many tries.
Agnieszka Radwanska denied the Russian star this time, claiming a 7-5, 6-4
victory on Saturday for her second title of 2012 and the ninth of her career.
It was also the biggest win for the 23-year-old native of Poland, who improved
to 9-2 all-time in WTA finals. She also claimed the title in Dubai earlier
this year and is 26-4 [not including a walkover loss in Malaysia] in 2012,
with each of those losses coming against world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
"I'm just very happy that I played my tennis since the beginning of the year
and hope I can continue," Radwanska said during the trophy presentation after
After Marion Bartoli handed Azarenka her first loss of 2012 earlier this week
in the quarterfinals, it was clear sailing for Radwanska. She did not drop a
set during the event and earned a trip to the final with a 6-4, 6-2 pounding
of Bartoli on Thursday.
On Saturday it was more of the same against an erratic Sharapova, who entered
the match with a 7-1 lifetime mark against Radwanska.
Sharapova failed to convert a pair of early break points in the match, then
fell behind 0-40 in the 12th game with a wide forehand, a long backhand and an
overhead into the net.
Radwanska nearly let her escape. She drilled a forehand into the net on her
first break chance, then netted a second-serve return on the next point before
Sharapova finally wilted and sent a forehand into the tape to give the Pole
the first set in 57 minutes.
Sharapova racked up 26 unforced errors in the opening set, while Radwanska had
just one winner but also committed a mere eight unforced errors.
Radwanska dominated on serve early in the second set, winning consecutive
games at love and opening a 30-love lead in the seventh game. Sharapova then
battled back with three straight points to gain the first break chance for
either player in the second set.
However, after a strong forehand that Radwanska chased down with a backhand
lob, Sharapova sent another forehand long and Radwanska managed to win the
next two points to hold.
The disappointment appeared to affect Sharapova immediately, as she lost the
first two points on her ensuing service game. She bounced back quickly,
though, and won the next four to even the set at 4-4.
After Radwanska won the next game, Sharapova's wildness again surfaced. Three
errors allowed Radwanska to earn a pair of championship points and she needed
only one when a Sharapova backhand landed beyond the line.
"She played extremely well today," lamented Sharapova after the match.
Sharapova fell to 24-16 all-time in finals, including 0-3 this year. She also
lost in title matches at the Australian Open and Indian Wells -- both against
The three-time Grand Slam champion has lost to four different women in finals
at Miami -- falling to Kim Clijsters in 2005, Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2006 and
Azarenka last year.
Radwanska, who had just six winners and committed only 10 unforced errors on
Saturday, earned a first prize of $712,000.
03/31 15:11:58 ET