The Magician eyes Dubai title

The Magician eyes Dubai title
Agnieszka Radwanska has emerged as one of the favourites to win the DDF Tennis Championship. - Supplied photo

Dubai - Radwanska hoping to carry fine form into DDF Tennis Championship



Agnieszka Radwanska's recent success has seen her emerge as one of the favourites to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships title next week.
The 2012 Dubai champion has arguably the best record of any player in the last few months, and she will carry her sky-high confidence into what will be a star-studded event featuring many other members of the world's top 10.
Radwanska's sensational run began after a disappointing third round loss to Madison Keys at the US Open. First she won the title in Tokyo during a week that included victory over 2015 Dubai runner-up Karolina Pliskova and exciting young Swiss Belinda Bencic. Then two weeks later she reached the semifinals in Beijing and the following week she lifted another trophy in Tianjin.
But Radwanska's greatest triumph came in Singapore when she claimed one of the biggest prizes in women's tennis as she closed out the 2015 season by sweeping all the way to the title at the WTA Finals in Singapore, by beating top seed Simona Halep, Wimbledon runner-up Garbine Muguruza and two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova. Having gone into the US Open ranked 15, by year's end she had climbed to number five.
She then carried her success into the 2016 season, climbing further to fourth in the world after beginning the year by claiming her 18th career title in Shenzhen and then going on to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
"Agnieszka Radwanska first played at the DDF Tennis Championships as a qualifier in 2007, and she has long been a fan favourite," said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free. "She won the title four years ago and has continued to be one of the most talented and entertaining players on the WTA Tour. It would be fitting if she could celebrate her 10th visit here by re-capturing her title."
While many players rely largely on power to overcome an opponent, Radwanska has earned nicknames such as The Professor and The Magician for her ability to confound the opposition with her mobility and amazing tactical awareness. Even Andy Murray has been known to delay a Press conference so he could watch her in action.
"I think this is always great to hear, especially from those kind of players like Andy Murray or the other girls," she said. "I think this is a big respect, so I just have to appreciate it. It's always very nice compliments when I can hear that my tennis is smart or very entertaining. Each time I'm very happy to hear that."
And another contributory factor in her success is careful planning of her schedule. She makes sure she doesn't overplay, and she likes to take any opportunity she can to return home, no matter for how short a time.
"Definitely less and less, I guess, right now," she said of her schedule. "But I think my calendar is pretty similar every year. It's maybe two or three tournaments different. It's always nice to go home, especially after long trips. That's what I'm trying to do all the time. That's working very well for me. Even when it's just couple days at home, really makes you feel that you're resting and that you have power to go to another trip."
"Radwanska clearly has what it takes to repeat her run to the title here," said tournament director Salah Tahlak, "and she would once again be a popular champion. It will be very interesting to see if she can continue her excellent form against so much top-class opposition."
Play in the DDF Tennis Championships begins with the WTA event, which takes place between Feb.15-20 and also features world number one Serena Williams, Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza, former world number ones Ana Ivanovic, Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic, and top teenager Belinda Bencic.
Play then continues between Feb.22-27 with the action-packed ATP tournament featuring four-time champion Novak Djokovic, Australian and French Open winner Stan Wawrinka, two-time Dubai finalist Tomas Berdych and charismatic Australian Nick Kyrgios.


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