Radwanska's first 2015 win boosts WTA Finals bid

Agnieszka Radwanska celebrating after defeating Belinda Bencic in the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo yesterday. The Pole is climbing the rankings steadily after a lean first half of the year with a string of early exits.
Agnieszka Radwanska celebrating after defeating Belinda Bencic in the Pan Pacific Open final in Tokyo yesterday. The Pole is climbing the rankings steadily after a lean first half of the year with a string of early exits.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO • Agnieszka Radwanska boosted her chances of qualifying for the WTA Finals in Singapore next month with a win over Belinda Bencic in the WTA Pan Pacific Open final yesterday.

The seventh seed grabbed her first tournament victory of this year, and her 15th career tennis title, with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 victory over the Swiss teenager.

Victory will propel the 26-year-old Pole back into the world's top 10. She will also move into 10th place in the race for places at the season-ending showdown.

"I'm just so happy to be back in that top 10. It's very, very tight now," said Radwanska, who will move up five places to eighth when the new world rankings are released today. "There are a lot of young players coming up, so many players who deserve to be top 10, so I'm just happy I can be No. 8 now.

"The Asia swing is key for me to go to Singapore, so I think this week I did a great job to give myself a better chance to go back there again."

SOLID OUTING

The Asia swing is key for me to go to Singapore, so I think this week I did a great job to give myself a better chance to go back there again.

AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA

Bencic is one of the up-and-coming players in Radwanska's rear-view mirror.

The 18-year-old giant-killer, who will also rise from her current ranking of 15, defeated former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals. The eighth-seeded Swiss had also beaten former US Open champion Sam Stosur and current No. 8 Garbine Muguruza in her run to the final.

Bencic admitted that those wins took a toll on her legs. But there will be no respite as she now heads to the Wuhan Open in China, where 18 of the world's top 20 will compete for honours beginning today.

After all, the Swiss still harbours ambitions of breaking into the top eight and reach the Tour finals.

"For me, this tournament was a very good step forward. I think it showed I really belonged to play against top players," she said.

"I think everyone's goal is to go to Singapore. For sure, I am trying to get in there. I think I started pretty well taking a lot of points here in Tokyo." AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2015, with the headline 'Radwanska's first 2015 win boosts WTA Finals bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe