Maria Sharapova lost her serve in the final game of each set Saturday and again fell short in a bid for her first Sony Ericsson Open title, losing to Agnieszka Radwanska 7-5, 6-4.
Sharapova, a three-time Grand Slam champion, fell to 0-4 in Key Biscayne finals. Sharapova was also the runner-up in 2005, 2006 and last year.
Radwanska, ranked a career-best No. 4, earned her ninth career title and fourth since last summer. She’s 0-4 in 2012 against top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and 26-0 against everyone else.
The match was 72 minutes old before Radwanska hit her first baseline winner. She was content to play steadily and extend rallies until the more aggressive Sharapova would make a mistake.
Sharapova finished with 45 unforced errors, many from the backhand side. Radwanska committed only 10 unforced errors and erased all three break points she faced. Sharapova draped a rolled-up cold towel around her neck during changeovers, but the heat didn’t seem to faze either player.
However, the pressure to hold serve made Sharapova wobble twice.
Serving at 5-6 in the first set, she committed four unforced errors — including a blown overhead — to lose the set.
The pattern was similar in the second set, when Radwanska had only one break point — the last point of the match. Sharapova sailed a forehand long, and Radwanska lifted her arms in triumph. Radwanska beat Venus Williams en route to the final and won every set she played.
She improved to 2-7 against Sharapova, with her other victory at the 2007 U.S. Open.
Sharapova was trying to extend her streak of winning at least one title for a 10th consecutive year. Instead she settled for her third runner-up trophy.