REUTERS - Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska celebrated her rise to the top four of the world rankings with a 6-3 6-2 thumping of Alison Riske in the Shenzhen Open final on Saturday, her 18th WTA career title.
Radwanska had ensured she will replace Russian world number four Maria Sharapova in Monday’s rankings by reaching the final of the tournament in China and backed that up with a routine victory over her American opponent.
”I think Alison was really playing solid tennis today,“ Radwanska told reporters. ”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.
“But my serve really helped me today. 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.”
The Pole did not drop a set in her run to the title and Saturday’s triumph will increase her confidence ahead of the Australian Open, which gets underway in Melbourne on Jan. 18, after a spectacular end to last season.
Radwanska showed steady improvement throughout 2015, winning titles in Tokyo and Tianjin before she claimed her first WTA Finals championship in Singapore last November when she overcame Petra Kvitova in three sets.
The former world number two will now head to Sydney for her final warmup before the first grand slam of the season.
“It’s the beginning of the year, so we’re all fresh compared to the end of the year. I‘m feeling good,” the 26-year-old added.
“Also I have a bye there (Sydney), so I’ll have a couple of days off right now.”
Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien