There were times, during the Mercury Insurance Open final, when both opponents played very well. But other times, one would take a turn at being an anxiety-ridden mess. Agnieszka Radwanska, the 4th seed, took the first turn, stepping onto the court with most of the magic of her quarterfinal and semifinal successes eluding her. She was obviously anxious, evidenced mostly by her lack of instinct and her indecisiveness about shot-making. It didn't take Svetlana Kuznetsova long to go up 4-1.
Radwanska straightend herself out a bit, but Kuznetsova took the set 6-4.
When the second set began, the 4th seed was a different player--the player we've watched for the last couple of days. She defended better, though she did go down 3-5. When Kusnetsova served for the match, she was broken. Radwanska easily held. The set ended up in a tiebreak, with Kuznetsova once again in charge. She went up 4-0, then 6-3, and the whole affair appeared to be about over--until Kuznetsova became so anxious, she double-faulted twice, and ended up losing four match points. Radwanska--by this time quite steady--won the tiebreak 9-7.
The third set was a good one, featuring some of the best shot-making of the match. But as the set wore on, it was Radwanska who faded, and Kuznetsova who rose to the occasion, hitting winners left and right. With a 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 victory, the Russian was able to hold the trophy.
For Radwanska fans (count me as one), the loss was tough, but at least everyone got to see a lot of the 4th seed's best tennis throughout this tournament. For Kuznetsova, the win couldn't come at a better time. With the U.S. Open around the corner, the 2004 champion with the mighty forehand has declared herself a contender.
Kuznetsova was not the only one to make a comeback: Zheng Jie, whose doubles stardom has waned, won the San Diego tournament with partner Maria Kirilenko. The 4th seeds defeated 2nd seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs 6-4, 6-4.