You wait for one Radwanska and then two come along at once. Barely a fortnight after Agnieszka, her more celebrated older sister, underlined her recent resurgence with a run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, Urszula Radwanska reached the second WTA Tour final of her career with a tenacious three-set win over Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova at the Istanbul Cup.
Yet the 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory that sealed that personal landmark, secured in two hours and 23 minutes, will no doubt have meant infinitely more to the Pole than her run to the Rosmalen final three years ago.
Then, Radwanska was riding a wave of success that had been steadily gathering momentum since 2007, when she won junior Wimbledon and ended the year as the world’s top-ranked junior. That impetus would eventually carry her to the rarefied heights of 29th in the world.
Radwanska’s recent progress has been markedly less serene, however. Early last year she underwent surgery on a shoulder injury that forced her out of the game for four months, subsequently suffering a loss of form and confidence that would drag her outside the top 200.
For most of this season, Radwanska, 24, has understandably been happy just to be back on court, but that may change after her week’s work in Turkey.
The Pole, who has now climbed back to 99th in the rankings, saw off the third seed Jelena Jankovic in her opening match before coming through a tight three-setter against Tsvetana Pironkova, the eighth seed, in the quarter-finals.
The latter contest proved to be ideal preparation for her meeting with Rybarikova, a tense baseline encounter punctuated by a dozen breaks of serve.
With neither player able to establish dominance on serve, it was Radwanksa who eventually found the greater consistency. She landed 70% of her first deliveries in the final set to edge home and set up a Sunday showdown against the winner of the second semi-final between Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine and Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.