Italian tennis player Flavia Pennetta beat Polish Agnieszka Radwanska in the women’s final of Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open event at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California. It is the biggest title of her career.
The 6-2, 6-1 tally was a devastating loss for Radwanska, who suffered a knee injury prior to the match that affected her mobility. As she accepted her second-place trophy, she tearfully told the crowd she was “sorry I couldn’t run.” She was practicing when she hurt her left knee, and tried everything to prepare herself for the big game. “But I didn’t expect it to be much worse,” she said.
Radwanska had no specific diagnosis for her injury, but she said that she would try to play in a match in Miami the following week. She receives a runner-up check worth $500,000, and maintains her position at No. 3 in the world. Serena Williams and Li Na take the first and second spots, respectively.
Pennetta’s win, fair or not considering her opponent’s injury, is still seen as a major comeback into the game. In August 2012, she underwent a serious wrist surgery. Last June, her ranking dropped to 166th in the world, and she had to struggle to rebuild her career. She was eventually able to get into the semifinals of the U.S. Open.
For the Indian Wells tournament, Pennetta was able to enter at the 21st spot and was seeded at 20th, but didn’t seem like the one who would bring home the championship. Now she not only has the first-place crystal trophy, but $1 million as well. The winning check represents 13 percent of her career winnings.
“After so many years and so much work, this is the moment I always waited for,” Pennetta said. At 32, she is the third-oldest winner of the tournament, next to Martina Navratilova who won when she was 33 and 34 years of age in 1990-1991. It’s Pennetta’s 13th year as regular competitor, and though she thinks of herself as “old” she knows she’s a good athlete with the strength and experience “to handle the emotion and everything” that comes with being in a tournament.
— angivitale (@angiv38) March 17, 2014
Watch highlights from the match
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