Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska survived a three-setter with Barbora Strycova, could play former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semis should she get past Olympic Gold medalist Monica Puig.
WTA Staff

TOKYO, Japan - No.2 seed and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska was one game from elimination against the always-dangerous Barbora Strycova, but the Pole turned things around to advance into the quarterfinals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

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"The first match is always tricky, especially at a really strong tournament like here," Radwanska said in her on-court interview. "You're playing someone in the Top 20, Top 30, so it's never easy. I'm just very happy with that match; it wasn't easy, but I was just better in a couple of points."

Radwanska last played Strycova at the French Open, where the former World No.2 survived a three-setter on the terre battue, and it quickly became clear it would be a similar struggle on Wednesday as the Czech veteran raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set despite dropping the first.

"I've known her for a long time, so I know she's a great player with great hands. She can do everything on court, with great touch and is very often at the net. She made some incredible shots, so I'm very glad the last point was mine!"

Strycova is in the midst of a career-best season after reaching the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and came into Tokyo just two spots shy of her career-high ranking of No.19 - earned in late August. Thrice up a break in the decider, she served for the match at 5-4, but Radwanska gamely broke back and saved break points of her own in the next game to engineer victory in two hours and 16 minutes.

"I know it's late but thank you for staying. Hopefully I will see even more of you the day after tomorrow!"

It is sure to be quite a quarterfinal match-up come Friday as the No.2 seed is set to take on Olympic tennis event champion Monica Puig; the Puerto Rican knocked out former Tokyo champion Petra Kvitova in three sets to earn her best result since becoming her country's first-ever Olympic Gold medalist. Former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki also looms as a possible semifinal opponent, making the fight for the Toray Pan Pacific Open trophy likely a photo finish.