Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Radwanska needs three

Aga Radwanska, runner-up to Johanna Konta in Sydney, and third seed for the 2017 Aus Open, should not be troubled too much by Tsvetana Pironkova, despite having lost to the Bulgarian world number 64 at last year's French Open.
Pironkova had previously made the Wimbledon semi finals in 2010 but she failed to win through qualifying for the Sydney main draw this year.

The match began with promise in the first game, Pironkova holding serve with an ace and some clean hitting.
From there set one was not pretty and Radwanska was in total command.

A love game with multiple winners, followed by the first break of serve, courtesy of more winners, gave Aga a 2-1 edge.  She was using all of the court, and willing to come into the net to finish off points if she had forced Tsvetana sufficiently out of position.

Another break in the fifth game, including errors from the Bulgarian backhand, but again some initiative from Poland's number one player, and 4-1 was the lead.
Serving to stay in the first set Pironkova saved one set point but not the second as a backhand mistake gave Radwanska her sixth successive game and 6-1 lead in the match.

From nowhere Radwanska found three awful backhands and was down as many break points in the opening game of set two.  Pironkova didn't have to be asked twice if she wanted the break, and she took the lead 1-0.  It was a different player who raced to a 2-0 advantage without dropping a point, on the back of an ace and multiple winners.

Radwanska caught up to 2-2 when Pironkova fell into old habits, a heap of unforced errors the cause of her dropping serve in the fourth game.
Nobody wanted to hold serve for the next period of the match, and after seven games Radwanska had failed three times.  Pironkova led 4-3 virtually by accident.

Serves were held for the remainder of the set and that meant that Pironkova had levelled the match at 1-6 6-4 and the third seed was in danger of losing in the first round.

Not going to happen thought Aga as she opened up a 4-0 lead in the decider, losing just five points in the process.
The rest was academic, and the third seed won 6-1 4-6 6-1.

Not the best Radwanska performance ever, but enough at this stage.  No trophies are handed out yet.

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