Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Radwanska beats Wozniacki in Sydney

Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska came from a set down to beat the world number one, Caroline Wozniacki for the first time in six attempts, 3-6 7-5 6-2.  Unfortunately the main talking point at the end of the match will be that Wozniacki picked up a wrist injury, which saw what had been a very competitive contest end in rather lacklustre fashion.  The first two sets were fluctuating affairs; the first set was rather dour with Radwanska serving up too many errors... the less said about this set the better! The second set was much more entertaining with both players hitting the ball much harder in a generally high quality second set.  Wozniacki actually served for the match at 6-3 5-4, but could not get across the finish line as Radwanska came fighting back. Wozniacki saved 4 set points, 2 of which came through some brave and forceful play, but Radwanska eventually won the second set on her fifth set point after a disappointing error from Wozniacki.

Radwanska then broke away from Wozniacki at 2-2 in the third set to win four straight games and progress to the semi-finals.  This was the first time I had watched both players this year and found that there was nothing new to Wozniacki's game.  She played some good stuff here and there, but her serve lacked any magic as she converted just 48% of 1st serve points and 45% of 2nd serve points.  Radwanska played a shocking first set by her standards, but raised her level well in the second and third sets.  This was a very encouraging win from the Pole, who looks ready to build on her excellent end to 2011 and make some headway at the big tournaments. Wozniacki will understandably be concerned about her hopes now for the Australian Open with this wrist injury.  This comes after the news that Andrea Petkovic has pulled out of the Australian Open with a lower back stress fracture that will keep her out for six to eight weeks... they are all dropping like flies!

Radwanska will play Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals, as she came through a tough and tight two setter against Marion Bartoli, 7-5 6-4.  Azarenka came back from deficits in both sets, but most notably down 5-2 in the first set.  The players also had to contend with very windy conditions and a power outage within the grounds during the second set.  Azarenka has made her way through the draw very nicely and without making many headlines, but looks to be in very good form at the start of 2012.  The best performance of the day came from Petra Kvitova who thumped Daniela Hantuchova, 6-0 6-4 (you can watch the demolition below!).  Kvitova will play Li Na in an intriguing semi-final, after she beat Lucie Safarova, 6-2 7-6.  The last time these two played each other was at Roland Garros where Li prevailed in 3 sets.  Since that match, so much has happened for these two players and I fancy another close match this time round.

In Hobart, the quarter-finals were all set with Mona Barthel claiming the biggest win of her career as she strolled past Anabel Medina Garrigues, 6-1 6-4.  Barthel was in fact 6-1 5-2 up, but did well to eventually get over the finish line.  She will play Jarmila Gajdosova in the quarter-final after she rebounded from the loss of the middle set to beat Anastasia Rodionova, 6-3 1-6 6-4.  In the other quarter-finals, Yanina Wickmayer will play Simona Halep, Shahar Peer will take on Anna Chakvetadze and Sorana Cirstea will be up against Angelique Kerber... most of my tips have gone, but my champion in Kerber does remain in the competition!

Sydney semi-finals: Azarenka to beat Radwanska in 2 sets and Kvitova to beat Li in 3 sets

Hobart quarter-finals: Wickmayer to beat Halep in 2 sets, Chakvetadze to beat Peer in 3 sets, Kerber to beat Cirstea in 2 sets and Barthel to beat Gajdosova in 2 sets

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