Radwanska Passes Bouchard Test
Published May 05, 2014 12:13
MADRID, Spain - It was the first round match everyone was waiting for when the draw was made, and this time the established star was just too good for the rising star, as Agnieszka Radwanska fended off Eugenie Bouchard in a tight two-setter at the Premier Mandatory-level Mutua Madrid Open on Monday.
It seemed like somewhat of a toss-up, Radwanska consistently one of the top players in the world over the last few years but all of her greatest results have come on grass and hardcourts, with early exits in four of her five previous attempts in Madrid - meanwhile Bouchard was very impressive in her last outing on clay, reaching the semifinals of Charleston, and has already had two Top 10 wins this year.
Everyone was watching as two of the most popular names in the game played for the first time.
The Turning Point
Things couldn't have been closer early on. The two battled for almost an hour in the first set alone - 56 minutes to be exact - before Radwanska finally tucked the set away, rallying from an early break down to take it in a tie-break. Once that was out of the way the floodgates opened, as the No.3-seeded Pole raced out to a 3-0, double break lead in the second set, eventually closing it out, 7-6(3), 6-2.
By The Numbers
The two had pretty even numbers in the first set but it was in the second set where Radwanska really pulled away, particularly on her serve, winning 13 of 17 points on her first serve - an impressive 76% (meanwhile Bouchard won just 8 of 18 points on her first serve during the second set, or 44%).
And the big number? Radwanska won her 25th match of the year, just the second player to cross that milestone so far in 2014 (Carla Suárez Navarro has 26 coming in, and goes for 27 on Monday night).
"Of course it was a very tough first round, especially for my first outdoor tournament on clay," Radwanska said. "I didn't use my first chance when I was 5-3 up, but she was really playing and hitting the ball unbelievable. I think the tie-break was the biggest key in that match. I did a couple of good shots in the tie-break and managed to win that - and that gave me more confidence in the second set.
"Every point matters. The games were really tight. And the first set is always very important, especially in these kinds of matches - so that's why I really doing everything to win that first set."
Up next for Radwanska is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat Alizé Cornet, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1. Kuznetsova could be an even tougher test for Radwanska, and there's one big reason for that - Kuznetsova leads Radwanska in their head-to-head, 10-3, and the Russian has also won their last six meetings in a row.
In their last meeting, in the third round of the 2012 French Open, Kuznetsova was a 6-1, 6-2 winner.