Pennetta claims Indian Wells title
Flavia Pennetta described her Indian Wells triumph as the moment she had always waited for as she celebrated the biggest title of her career.
- Related Content
The 32-year-old Italian defeated an injured Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1 and will climb to 12th in the world rankings on Monday.
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 said: "After so many years, so much work and everything, this is the moment I always waited for.
"And it's come when I didn't expect it, because at the beginning of the week I never expected to be the champion or to be in the final or semi-final.
"I was here and I tried to play my best tennis, but I was just being realistic. Finally I have a good trophy in my hands.
"It's incredible. Because I perfectly remember after the match with Francesca (Schiavone) last year, the day after I was in the garden running and talking with my physio, Max, almost crying because the feeling and everything was so bad.
"And now, after one year, we have the trophy. So he is happy also because we worked so much to get over the injury and everything. So I think without him, without my coach, my family, maybe I would not be here."
Pennetta was aided significantly by Radwanska's knee injury, with the Pole having more and more tape added to her left knee in the second set, but to no avail.
Radwanska looked to be fighting back tears at one point, and she struggled to compose herself during her on-court speech.
The 25-year-old said: "I think it's just the worst thing for a player to not give 100 per cent, especially in the final of a big event.
"I just couldn't run as much as I normally do. It's just bad luck.
"It's been bothering me for a few days, but I just didn't expect it was going to be much worse today."
Radwanska is now a big doubt for next week's tournament in Miami, but she is hopeful she will be fit.
"I will have a few days off," she said. "Then we will see. Of course I will have a lot of treatment and do everything to be ready for Miami. It's a big tournament, so I really want to try."
Initially it looked set to be a close match and Radwanska would have moved 3-1 ahead had Pennetta, who beat top seed Li Na in the semi-finals, 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.
Radwanska'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 after an hour and 13 minutes.
The 32-year-old celebrated with her support team including Italian men's number one Fabio Fognini, who, with no champagne to hand, doused her in water.
A prize money cheque for one million US dollars no doubt made Pennetta's smile a little wider, but she was unable to lift her trophy - it is too heavy.