It shaped as an intriguing final match-up between an upstart in the form of her life and a calculating former Wimbledon finalist preparing to get back to her career-high ranking of world No.2.
It was, however, a walkover, as the form that earned Dominika Cibulkova three top-10 scalps this week to qualify for the final of the Sydney International deserted her, allowing Agnieszka Radwanska to triumph in devastating, if not embarrassing, fashion, 6-0, 6-0. It was the shortest final in tournament history, exceeding the 1992 final when Gabriela Sabatini thrashed Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, 6-1, 6-1.
Cibulkova's game plan of aggression and power crumbled in the face of Radwanska's patience and precision. At times it seemed cruel, as if only the match's end could help the underdog. She finished with a double-fault. Radwanska finished the tournament without dropping a set.
Such was the performance of Radwanska this week that it confirmed the world No.4 as a genuine challenger to the big three - Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka - when the Australian Open starts on Monday. Yet, such was the cleanliness of her win, she hardly celebrated once the deed was done.
''I didn't really expect that score at all,'' said Radwanska, who won the ASB Classic in Auckland last week. ''In the beginning I think she really wanted too much. And in the second set she didn't really know what to do. I was just playing at the same level all match. This is tennis, this is sport, and sometimes things happen like that. Of course, I feel bad because it's the final and it's supposed to be a tight, long match.''
Cibulkova said she was shell-shocked by the result. ''I would like to say there was, but there was no injury,'' she said. ''It was the first time something like that happened to me. It's not easy because in a final you want to play your best. I felt that I could win every game until 6-0, 1-0, and then I completely broke down and stopped thinking about what I had to do. I was just thinking, 'Oh my God, what's happening?'''
Radwanska battled hard to hold serve in the first game but broke her opponent in the second. Cibulkova seemed to find her range in the fifth game but Radwanska won the key points, planting the seeds of frustration in the 23-year-old Slovak. Unforced errors returned for the outsider again in the sixth game, which Radwanska won to love, clearing the set in 34 minutes.
The statistics were telling: Radwanska had hit just two winners in the set and conceded 11, but the Pole hit six unforced errors to Cibulkova's 20. There were signs of life in the second set after Cibulkova took a five-minute break off court. But again the patience of Radwanska was the difference, as she continued to keep her mistakes to a minimum, while Cibulkova's search for winners continued largely in vain.
It was a sad end to a great week for Cibulkova. The world No.15 joined Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams and Sam Stosur as the only unseeded players to make the Sydney decider