Varvara Lepchenko proved her summer win over World No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska was no fluke by repeating the trick at the Kia Korea Open on Friday.
WTA Staff

SEOUL, South Korea - At the Kia Korea Open on Friday, Varvara Lepchenko proved that lightning can indeed strike twice as she upset World No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska for the second time in as many months.

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Top seed Radwanska had cruised through the opening two rounds and when she built a set and a break lead against Lepchenko, a place in the semifinals appeared to beckon. Lepchenko, though, had other ideas, turning the match on its head with a brilliant spell of all-court tennis to run out a 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-2 winner.

"It was pretty difficult match. I knew that it was not going to be easy today and I'd have to really fight a lot to be able to get through it," Lepchenko said. "She is in the Top 10 for a reason, so I knew that nothing was going to come easy. I'm pretty satisfied that I was able to stay focused right until the end."

Lepchenko had already beaten Radwanska once this year, in Stanford, and her baseline aggression and never-say-die attitude drew a favorable comparison from one journalist after the match.

"You think I play like Nadal? I'm very honored to get that kind of a comparison," Lepchenko said. "He is definitely one of the people who I have been looking up to as he's been one of the best players for a long time.

"I've been trying to learn from him a lot; he is great as a person and obviously as a fighter, too."

WTA Rising Star Christina McHale, Lepchenko's next opponent, had her afternoon's work cut short after her opponent Magdalena Rybarikova retired midway through the second set with a hip injury.

Despite being dissatisfied at the nature of the match's conclusion, McHale, who was leading 6-2, 2-0 at the time of the retirement, was happy with the state of her game going into the weekend. "I think it was a shame that she had to retire. I knew it wasn't her best at the end. But I think I hit my forehand well, and played pretty well and am happy with the way I played. Still, it is a shame that we had to end like that."

In the bottom half, Maria Kirilenko continued her return to form, battling back to defeat Kaia Kanepi, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3. Meeting her for a place in the final will be WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova, who continued her fine recent run of form with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Nicole Gibbs.