WTA Indian Wells: Flavia Pennetta defeats Agnieszka Radwanska to claim title
Italy's Flavia Pennetta routed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 on Sunday to win the Indian Wells WTA crown.
Last Updated: 16/03/14 10:05pm
The 32-year-old needed just one hour and 13 minutes to blow the second seed from Poland away and claim the biggest title of her career.
It caps a remarkable year for Pennetta, who considered retiring at the same tournament 12 months ago as she battled to rediscover her form after wrist surgery.
She became the third-oldest winner of the desert tournament after Martina Navratilova, who won at age 33 and again at 34 in 1990-91.
World No 3 Radwanska, who went into the match as favourite, was troubled by a left leg injury that severely restricted her movement.
She twice called for the trainer in the second set and had her knee heavily taped and was in tears by the end of the match.
It allowed the 20th seed, who is a doubles specialist, to capture her first singles title in four years - since Marbella in 2010.
She was considering retirement before reaching the semi-finals of the US Open last year, but Pennetta, who in 2009 became the first Italian to reach the world top 10, will now make it back into the top 15 in the world.
"Last year exactly in this tournament I was thinking 'Oh my god, I can't play anymore," a beaming Pennetta recalled. "Now I am here with the trophy."
Initially it looked set to be a close match and Radwanska would have moved 3-1 ahead had Pennetta not correctly challenged a call on the baseline.
She broke through herself the next game and, with Radwanska becoming increasingly erratic, Pennetta made it five games in a row, clinching the set with a superb backhand down the line.
Radwanska stopped the rot by holding serve to start the second set but the reason for her troubles became clear when she took a lengthy medical time-out to have her knee retaped.
That appeared to disrupt Pennetta and she was forced to save a break point to make it 1-1 but then broke through again, and Radwanska appeared on the verge of tears.
The Pole's movement and court craft help her counter the extra power of her rivals and with both of those compromised there was little she could do.
Radwanska decided against pulling out but the result was a foregone conclusion and Pennetta wrapped it up with her sixth game in a row.
Afterwards Pennetta said the challenge in the second set was to maintain her concentration.
"The first set was I think pretty good," she said. "I tried to go for winners. Second set, I see she has a physical problem and I started thinking too much."
She celebrated with her support team including Italian men's No 1 Fabio Fognini, who, with no champagne to hand, doused her in water.