MIAMI, FL, USA - Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska survived a tricky encounter against Alison Van Uytvanck to reach the Miami Open third round.
In a roller coaster match that featured 10 breaks of serve across two sets as well as a second-set a tiebreak, it was Radwanska who emerged victorious, 6-3, 7-6(4) after nearly two hours on court.
A former champion in 2012, some of Radwanska’s best tennis flourishes under the South Florida sun; she’s reached the round of 16 or better in nine of her previous 11 appearances. The No.30 seed fell at the hands of eventual Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka in the second round last week, but bounced back with aplomb in her Miami opener.
Radwanska owns two career victories over the Belgian: both on clay and the most recent coming at last year’s French Open, which went to three sets and a tiebreak - Van Uytvanck proved just as difficult to put away on Thursday.
The No.30 seed had to fight off break points in her very first service game, setting the tone of the match early on. Radwanska grabbed the first break at 3-2, but Van Uytvanck broke back to stay in it. Radwanska stayed calm, reeling off the last three games in a row to take the opening set.
Things were more complicated in the second, trading breaks twice to start the set - Van Uytvanck coming back from 0-2 down and then Radwanska recovering from a break deficit to level the score at 3-3.
Radwanska once again grabbed the lead, putting herself up 5-3 and in position to serve out the match. She was a point away from victory when Van Uytvanck broke once more, extending her stay in the match and bringing up the tiebreak.
The Polish player dug from her back of trickshots to hit a smash return passing shot winner to edge ahead 4-2 in the tiebreak. She tamped down any sign of resistance from across the net few points later, claiming the victory after an hour and 51 minutes.
An even bigger challenge potentially lies in round 2; Radwanska awaits the winner between the tournament’s top seed Simona Halep and lucky loser Oceane Dodin in her next match.