Agnieszka Radwanska’s bid to win her first WTA Championships title got off the best possible start on Tuesday with a convincing 6-3 6-2 win over defending champion Petra Kvitova.
Radwanska, playing in her fourth tour finals, defended dutifully when required to overcome the powerful yet erratic Kvitova and stake a claim for the semi-finals later this week.
The turning point came with the first set tied at 3-3, with Kvitova having just defended three break points, yet the Czech couldn’t convert on her opponent’s serve and suddenly Radwanska breathed a new lease of life. The Pole rapidly took the remainder of the first before making it four games in a row with an immediate break in the second.
The confidence drained from Kvitova and her opponent was left to mop up the match, striking a love game for 3-1 after being broken herself earlier in the set.
Kvitova, who had won all three previous meetings with Radwanska, now has a tough task to qualify out of the White Group and into the knockout stage. For Azarenka, however, the task of making the semis now seems a lot easier. She comes up against Maria Sharapova tomorrow in Istanbul knowing a victory will see her safe early passage through to the next round.