Radwanska Stuns Azarenka In QFs
Published January 22, 2014 12:15
MELBOURNE, Australia - The numbers were stacked against her - an 0-4 record in Australian Open quarterfinals, a seven-match losing streak to her opponent - but Agnieszka Radwanska overcame it all, beating Victoria Azarenka to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open for the very first time.
From the beginning of the match Radwanska looked determined to snap the aforementioned losing streak to Azarenka - with her trademark blend of creativity and consistency she won the first five games of the match, and after Azarenka finally got on the board in the sixth game, she closed out the set, 6-1.
That one game may have helped swing the momentum in Azarenka's favor, though - the two stayed even throughout the second set and it was Azarenka who pounced right at the end to take it, 7-5.
The first game of the third set was pivotal - Azarenka was serving and had four game points, but Radwanska snuck it out, and from there it was one way traffic as the No.5-seeded Pole didn't drop another game, eventually finishing the No.2-seeded Belarusian off in exactly two hours, 61 57 60.
"It's hard to play someone I've lost to so many times before - and she's a great player, especially here, she's playing amazing tennis," Radwanska said. "On the other hand, I really had nothing to lose. She was defending the title, not me. I just tried to play my best tennis and go for every shot I could.
"I'm just very happy because I was really playing great tennis."
Radwanska was asked in her press conference whether she thinks she can win the title.
"Well, I hope so," the World No.5 said. "I will do everything in my power to do that."
Radwanska finished the match with much cleaner numbers - 23 winners to 15 unforced errors. The other side of the net wasn't as tidy, with Azarenka hitting 33 winners but piling up 47 unforced errors.
"The first and third set, there were just too many easy mistakes on important moments," Azarenka said. "But she was aggressive. She was making everything. She was guessing right. I was playing a little bit too predictable. In the second set I managed to fight back, but the first game of the third set was important, and I let it go - like easily let it go. From there I just couldn't get back into the match.
"I don't know. My game wasn't there today as I wanted it. But she definitely played really well."
Azarenka was also asked in her press conference how long this loss will linger in her mind.
"I'll be fine tomorrow," she said. "I'll be working tomorrow. It's not the end of the world. I'm not happy with what I did today, but I know I could have played a lot better. There's so much to improve.
"I can look at it like a lost opportunity, but there's nothing else I can do right now. What I have to think about is what I have to do better next time. It's just the beginning. If I thought I wasn't able to do much better than today, it's better to just stop playing tennis. But I know I can do a lot better.
"I can't take away what she did today though - she played amazing."