CINCINNATI, OH, USA - Agnieszka Radwanska looked sharp and moved safely past Sofia Arvidsson in her opening match at the Western & Southern Open, the biggest WTA tournament she has ever been the No.1 seed at.
Radwanska, who has been the top seed at two Premier-level events before but never a Premier Mandatory event, was down a break in the first set and twice more in the second set but never really looked in trouble, beating the big-hitting Swede comfortably in straight sets in an hour and 23 mintues, 64 63.
"It was really hot out there, but I kind of prepared for that," Radwanska said. "I remember from last year that in Cincinnati it's very, very hot and humid.
"The first match is always the most difficult. Every week we play on different surfaces with different balls and in different conditions. I'm just happy I won, especially in two sets, because of the heat. I hope to play better tomorrow."
Radwanska is playing her seventh WTA tournament as the No.1 seed. She has won two of those six previous tournaments and is now 15-3 as top seed (the losses have come to Caroline Wozniacki, Li Na and Tsvetana Pironkova).
The World No.1 ranking is within reach too, though not this week - Radwanska needs to win Cincinnati this week and New Haven next week as well to reach it.
"I know I'm close, but I think it's still a little bit far from No.1," Radwanska said. "I'm just going to do everything in my power to be No.1, at least for a week!"
Also among Wednesday's second round winners was the other Radwanska sister - Urszula Radwanska won an all-qualifier battle with Yaroslava Shvedova when the Kazakh retired in their second set due to heat illness.
The younger Radwanska has also been moving up the rankings as of late, just recently making her Top 50 debut and now weighing in at No.46 in the world.
"I'm just very happy that she's playing very well and having good results," big sister said. "I think she's on court now, so I'm really going to cheer for her - maybe from the locker room though, because it's really hot out there!
"It's great to have a sister on tour, especially since we're very close. I hope she can also be - maybe not No.1, but No.2. Because I want to be No.1."
Radwanska and Stephens will be playing each other for the first time. Stephens is 0-3 in her career against Top 10 players and has never won a set (losing in straight sets to Wozniacki at Indian Wells last year and to Maria Sharapova at Miami and Samantha Stosur at Roland Garros earlier this year).
"I'm going to go out and play my game with a good attitude," Stephens said. "I'll be excited. Maybe we'll get a good court. It'll be fun. I just love being out there competing, doing all the things necessary to win a match. I'll do my best."