Monday, 21 January 2013

Radwanska still to lose in 2013

Agnieszka Radwanska had a winning streak of twelve matches leading into tonight's clash with 13th seed Ana Ivanovic.  The world number four has been both consistent and brilliant and while not claiming the headlines in the way Sharapova has done, the performances have warranted just as much credit.

Ana has impressed too, continuing on from a good run in the Hopman Cup. (forgetting the final) In her three matches at Melbourne Park, the former finalist lapsed just once dropping the middle set against Chinese Taipei's Y-J Chan in the second round.

Blessed with truck loads of talent, Ivanovic potentially could make the evening awkward for Agnieszka but she needed to be available at all times and not go missing for patches - Radwanska punishes losses of focus.

Ana began in the worst possible way by dropping serve.  Agnieszka started as if she hadn't left the court from her previous match, hitting all parts of the court with her calculated precision and frustrating Ana after only a few points of the match had been decided.

The Ivanovic serve, so often a measure of her overall performance, was under pressure tonight as Radwanska handed out penalty notices for just about every missed first delivery.  For much of the time Ana managed to stay afloat with the service inadequacy a millstone not heavy enough to sink her.

Radwanska, though, has a reputation for being one of the more patient executioners, and she was prepared to weigh the Serbian number 1 down further as the match dragged on.  Off the forehand wing Ivanovic was weaker making numerous unforced errors which luckily did not reflect on the scoreboard.
In game four Radwanska had to save break points and she did with positive tennis strokes.

The decisive break, if not already made, came with an Ivanovic double fault to take the score to 5-2 and the ever reliable Polish serve to follow.  No last minute hiccups here and just to send the message home loud and clear, the set was finished with a Radwanska ace. 6-2.

Set 2 was far more competitive, with Agnieszka continuing her error free travels around the court but now being joined by a better focussed Ivanovic still hitting a host of attacking shots but many of them now for winners.
Radwanska, for all of this, still broke the Ivanovic serve in the opening game of the set, Ana's forehand once more going astray.

Over the next nine games, the pair exchanged some wonderful shots in many top rallies, Radwanska over the space of two of the games having to deal with a stack of break points.  She dealt with them skilfully, one with an ace.  The aces were simply flowing off the Polish racquet - not high speed aces, but each finding the gap to bother Ivanovic just that fraction more.

At 5-4 the fourth seed served the match out confidently (I hope Samantha Stosur saw a tape of the final game)  Agnieszka through to the quarters 6-2 6-4 to play Li Na whom she defeated in the Sydney semis on the way here.

No comments:

Post a Comment