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Snakes n’ Ladders: Radwanska wins

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Originally published on: 08/08/11 10:44

Agnieszka Radwanksa hadn’t won a title since 2008 before Sunday but returned to the winner’s circle in Carlsbad, defeating Vera Zvonareva for her fifth career title at the San Diego Open.

The 12th ranked Pole, who had lost the Carlsbad final to Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2010, defeated the two-time Grand Slam finalist for the first time in three meetings to secure her first tournament win since Pattaya City three years ago.

“Everything was working… winning a tournament with a lot of great matches against top players is very special,” said Radwanska, who had recovered from a set down against both Daniela Hantuchova and Andrea Petkovic in her respective quarter-final and semi-final matches. “I play well on these courts every year,” she added.

On the other side of America, in Washington, 32-year-old Radek Stepanek defied his advancing years to become the oldest ATP Tour titlist this season. The Czech clinched the Legg Mason Tennis Classic with an assured 6-4 6-4 victory over Gael Monfils.

“We are like wine. The older we are getting, the better we are,” said the five-time tour titlist after his surprise triumph. “Until my body falls apart I’ll be trying to stay competitive in this level. It’s very difficult because all the guys are great at this; they’re moving very fast and, as we all know, the speed is leaving slowly, we cannot go against Mother Nature.

“But I’m very pleased and happy the work I’m putting in for many years is paying off and I’m still able to compete with the top guys.”

Stepanek, whose last final appearance ended in defeat to Andy Roddick in Brisbane in 2010, climbed 27 places to No.27 after his triumph, while Monfils cemented his position at a career-high No.7. Also benefiting from good Washington runs were American’s John Isner and Donald Young, with the former rising seven places to No.28, while Young, who made a surprise run to the last four after beating 2010 finalist Marcos Baghdatis, leapt 39 spots to No.89.

In Kitzbuhel, Robin Haase defeated Albert Montanes 6-4 4-6 6-1 to win his maiden ATP World Tour title at the Bet-At-Home Cup Kitzbuhel.

“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m really happy that I won,” said the 24-year-old Dutchman. “It was one of the goals this year to make it into a semi-final or final, and maybe win it. I was close a few times when I played good but actually lost to good players. To win this match and beat good players this week was really great.”

Haase, who defeated second seed Feliciano Lopez en route to the title, cracked the top 50 by virtue of his triumph, rising nine places to a career-high No.44.

Meanwhile Nenad Zimonjic, who speaks exclusively to us in the September issue of tennishead magazine, won his first title with Michael Llodra, saving four match points to defeat Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 6-7(3) 7-6(6) 10-7 at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. The Serbian-French duo remain at No.3 in the ATP Doubles team rankings.

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