Tennis: Radwanska to meet Cibulkova in Stanford final

Reuters, Sunday 28 Jul 2013

Radwanska reaches the final of the Bank of the West Classic after beating Hampton

Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska reacts after defeating Jamie Hampton 6-3, 6-2 in a semifinal match at the Bank of the West Tennis Classic, Saturday, July 27, 2013, in Stanford, Calif (Photo: AP)

Top seed Agnieszka Radwanska gained a measure of revenge over Jamie Hampton by outplaying the American 6-3 6-2 to gain the final of the Bank of the West Classic on Saturday.

The fourth ranked Pole will face third seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, who powered past Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-0 to make her first final.

Radwanska had fallen to the up-and-coming American at a pre-Wimbledon tournament in Birmingham, England, last month, but in California on hard courts, she dictated play most of the evening, never allowing Hampton to get on top of her.

The fourth seed Hampton started the match fairly strong, but the Pole began to yank her around the court, mixing in deft drop shots, sharp angles and hard drives.

The American quickly became unsettled , while the quick Radwanska played steady and raced away with the match.

Radwanska finished the match with 11 winners and seven unforced errors, while Hampton ripped 24 winners and committed 35 unforced errors.

Radwanska, who has struggled mightily in her three set quarter-final win over Varvara Lepchenko, was pleased with the improvement in her game.

"I played much better than last night, I hit the ball very well and served well," Radwanska said. "She hits very hard, but it was night and I could run a lot and it's tough to finish points. It was an advantage to me because I could play defense and win the match."

In her sixth appearance on the campus of Stanford University, world number 25 Cibulkova got through a rough patch at the start of the first set and then battered the fifth-seeded Cirstea with powerful groundstrokes and returns.

Cibulkova managed to hold to 5-3 after a marathon eighth game in which she fought off four break points and the momentum clearly shifted as she reeled off seven out of the next eight games.

"I started really well and the level was quite high from both of us, but that game changed everything," Cirstea said of the eighth game. "After she won that game she stepped up and my level dropped a level. She played better than me."

The 23-year-old Cibulkova had few problems in the second set as she made a strategic shift by moving her position on the return of serve and cutting off the Romanian's favored serves out wide.

Cirstea grew wild and all the Slovak had to do was play steady and keep the ball deep in order to win the match.

"I tried to distract her on the serve and tried to make her think more," said Cibulkova, who has won two WTA titles, the second of which was at Carlsbad last year.

The last time that Radwanska and Cibulkova faced off, Radwanska beat her 6-0 6-0 in a final in Sydney.

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