Radwanska poles apart from final rival

17:31, Jan 05 2013
Elena Vesnina
Elena Vesnina stretches to hit a backhand during her first round win over Eugenie Bouchard.
Coco Vandeweghe
Coco Vandeweghe in action during her first round match with Eleni Daniilidou.
Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard in action in her first round match against Elena Vesnina.
Eleni Daniilidou
Eleni Daniilidou hits a forehand return during her match against Coco Vandeweghe.
Svetlana Kuznetsova
Svetlana Kuznetsova plays a forehand during her first round match against Kiki Bertens.
Kiki Bertens
Kiki Bertens celebrates her victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Marina Erakovic and Heather Watson
Marina Erakovic of New Zealand, right, and Heather Watson of Great Britain play against Paige Mary Hourigan and Claudia Williams of New Zealand in their first round doubles match.
Romania's Sorana Cirstea receives treatement from medical staff before retiring in her first round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Romania's Sorana Cirstea receives treatement from medical staff before retiring in her first round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Heather Watson of Great Britain plays a forehand in her first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Heather Watson of Great Britain plays a forehand in her first round match against Sorana Cirstea of Romania during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Canada's Stephanie Dubois plays a forehand in her first round loss to New Zealand's  Marina Erakovic at the 2013 ASB Classic.
Canada's Stephanie Dubois plays a forehand in her first round loss to New Zealand's Marina Erakovic at the 2013 ASB Classic.
New Zealand's Marina Erakovic plays a forehand in her first round win over Canada's Stephanie Dubois at the ASB Classic.
New Zealand's Marina Erakovic plays a forehand in her first round win over Canada's Stephanie Dubois at the ASB Classic.
Germany's Mona Barthel plays a backhand shot in her second round match against the USA's Grace Min during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Germany's Mona Barthel plays a backhand shot in her second round match against the USA's Grace Min during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her first round match against Hungary's Greta Arn during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her first round match against Hungary's Greta Arn during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer plays a forehand in her second round win over Romina Oprandi of Switzerland during day three of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer plays a forehand in her second round win over Romina Oprandi of Switzerland during day three of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova plays a forehand in her first round match against Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain at the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova plays a forehand in her first round match against Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino of Spain at the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Germany's Julia Goerges serves in her first round match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia during the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Germany's Julia Goerges serves in her first round match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia during the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Johanna Larsson
Johanna Larsson from Sweden beat second seed Julia Goerges in the second round.
Marina Erakovic
Marina Erakovic from New Zealand battles to stay in the match in the first set of her second round match against Jamie Hampton.
Kiki Bertens of Netherlands plays a backhand in her second round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain during day three of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Kiki Bertens of Netherlands plays a backhand in her second round match against Heather Watson of Great Britain during day three of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Simona Halep of Romania plays a forehand in her second round match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during day three of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Simona Halep of Romania plays a forehand in her second round match against Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland during day three of the 2013 ASB Classic in Auckland.
Yanina Wickmayer
Yanina Wickmayer serves during her quarter-final clash with Kirsten Flipkens.
Mona Barthel
Mona Barthel hits a forehand during her quarter-final win over Johanna Larsson.
Johanna Larsson
The look on Johanna Larsson's face says it all she loses her quarter-final clash with Mona Barthel.
Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland plays a forehand in her quarter final match against Elena Vesnina of Russia.
Yanina Wickmayer
Yanina Wickmayer stretches to hit a forehand during her semifinal win over Mona Barthel.
Mona Barthel
Mona Barthel during her semifinal against Yanina Wickmayer.
Yanina Wickmayer
Yanina Wickmayer celebrates after booking her place in the final.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her first round match against Hungary's Greta Arn during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her semifinal against Jamie Hampton.
Jamie Hampton
Jamie Hampton in her semifinal match against Agnieszka Radwanska.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her first round match against Hungary's Greta Arn during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland during the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska plays a forehand in her first round match against Hungary's Greta Arn during day two of the 2013 ASB Classic.
Yanina Wickmayer in action during the final of the ASB Classic.
Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska with the ASB Classic trophy.
ASB Classic
Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland on her way to winning against Yanina Wickmayer.
Yanina Wickmayer during the final.
Yanina Wickmayer during the final.

Other than tennis boffins, Agnieszka Radwanska wasn't a household name to Kiwi audiences. She should be now.

The Polish champion may not have the same pulling power as the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova or world No 1 Victoria Azarenka but, after this week's exploits, her profile and undoubted ability is etched in the memories of even New Zealand's casual tennis followers.

The underwhelming crowds that witnessed the world No 4's remarkable - near perfect - surge to the ASB Classic title yesterday won't forget her mighty mouse masterclass.

Radwanska's intelligent finesse is rare. It set the tone from the start, and after five unblemished matches, ended with another comprehensive straight sets win over former Belgian champion Yanina Wickmayer.

"She doesn't give you anything," Wickmayer conceded after her 6-4 6-4 loss in her third final here. "You have to work for every ball. If you make mistakes too early you will lose pretty bad."

There was an air of inevitability about the top seed's first successful outing in Auckland. She was barely troubled. No one could break down her seemingly impenetrable wall; escape the clutches of her fleet-footed court coverage.

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"I couldn't imagine a better start to the year. I'm very happy. I really like this tournament. It's my first time here and everything was very good," Radwanska said. "I had a great week here so hopefully I can come back. I didn't even drop a set."

Radwanska doesn't try to be something she's not. Variations were features of her unique game - they had to be. Tipping the scales at 56kg, probably with a racquet in hand, she resembles a featherweight punching well above her weight. It's hard to imagine someone of her stature footing it with the power hitters of the women's game, yet she's been in top 10 for the last five years, has now claimed 11 singles titles and over US$11 million in prizemoney.

She is a class act; a cut above anyone else this week, and the previous two winners, Zheng Jie and Greta Arn.

"Most of the top players are hard hitters," Wickmayer said. "They go for their shots and play very aggressive. Then there are players like her that counter very well. It's nice to watch. It's something different. She plays really smart. That's what makes her so good.

"She has had a lot of success playing this way." This past week Radwanska displayed all her tricks - the drop shot, net approach, cross-court drive and slice. All were delivered with precision placement.

"It depends who is on the other side of the net but for sure I can't hit the ball like the other powerful players," she said. "I'm always trying to find a way to stay in the games and win matches."

Those who tried to overpower her failed; those that attempted to go around her couldn't.

And so, in yesterday's fitting final battle of contrasting styles, Radwanska's skill and ice-cool composure outlasted Wickmayer's aggressive, risky, strength-based approach.

Outwardly, they could not have been more different. Wickmayer was pumped, jittery - totally on edge. She had her chances to force a third set but lost her temperament, throwing her racquet at one point. With her US$37,000 winner's cheque in hand, Radwanska will reward herself as she departs these shores in preparation for the Australian Open today.

As usual, Louis Vuitton may benefit from her success. "I have couple of handbags. I always buy one when I win something," she said. "For sure I'm going to buy shoes or handbag."

Meanwhile, Marina Erakovic won her second round qualifying match in Sydney, beating Greta Arne 7-5 4-6 6-4.

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