LONDON, Great Britain - Former World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska has come to life at the All England Club, putting down her best performance of the season to dispatch No.19 seed Timea Bacsinszky, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, and reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.
"I had a great match, especially since she's a really tricky opponent," Radwanska said in her post-match press conference. "She can do everything on court. You can expect everything. Playing aggressive and then also slices, mixing up all the things. I think it was a great match from the beginning till the end."
Radwanska came to the All England Club undercooked after battling a foot injury for most of the season, playing just one grass court match at the Aegon International in Eastbourne ahead of the Championships. Edging past former World No.1 Jelena Jankovic in her first match, the Pole twice trailed match point against American Christina McHale before making it through in three sets.
"I think in every match I was playing better and better. Obviously it wasn't easy again, but I think those kind of matches give you more confidence, especially they're great top players. You know, all matches help, for sure, here and also for the end of the season, as well."
Bacsinszky, by contrast, was back to her best at the French Open, reaching a second semifinal and barreled into the third round of Wimbledon after dropping just two games in the four sets she won - though she did drop a set to reigning Olympic champion Monica Puig in the first round.
The Swiss star had never lost to Radwanska in two previous meetings, and picked up that pattern to start the match after an opening exchange of breaks.
Pinning the Pole behind the baseline with some beautiful backhands, Bacsinszky grabbed one last break to clinch the set behind 14 winners.
The second game of the second set proved crucial as Radwanska avoided break points and got on the board, promptly breaking in the next game and holding on for dear life to force a decider.
"I think after the second set I just found my game and I was trying to be more aggressive. I think I was serving as well better in the third set."
Radwanska took pratice serves as Bacsinszky called a medical timeout to address a left thigh injury, and maintained that headstart all the way into a triple break, 5-0 advantage.
"I think at around 3-2 in the second set, there was this sharp pain coming to my quad and more the adductor muscle. I was struggling a lot to get low in my knees and which helped me very much in my first two rounds," Bacsinszky said.
"I was really hoping that in the second set I could take my chances earlier. Maybe if I created an opportunity to break her right away. But, well, it did not happen. But all the time when she was serving, I had some opportunities to break back.
"I mean, congrats to her, because she could have let go, as well, a little bit more but she fought until the end, even though I think at a certain point I had a better tennis level today - but even then that doesn't make you win all the time, because many other factors can come in, as it came today."
The No.19 seed briefly surged to nab one of the breaks back, but it was too late as the 2012 runner-up wrapped up the match after two hours and nine minutes on court.
In the end, Radwanska was the more consistent of the two, hitting 17 winners to only 12 unforced errors - striking just one error in the final set - while Bacsinszky made 33 winners but 34 unforced errors, half of those coming in the third.
Up next for the Pole is two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who reached the second week of Wimbledon for the second year in a row after surging past Polona Hercog in straight sets earlier in the day.
"I think I've played on every surface against Svetlana," Radwanska said. "We have played so many matches, so many good ones, so many three-setters.
"Playing her is always very challenging. You know every ball is going to go to your side over and over again. You're not gonna have any free points.
"She's tough opponent, and also, she can do everything on court. She really playing good tennis on grass. Even she's more like a Spanish player, but still doing good job here. We played couple times here, but we didn't play for a while, so really looking forward."
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