WTA Insider David Kane | After busy weeks in Shenzhen and Sydney, No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska prepares to take on Tsvetana Pironkova at the Australian Open.
WTA Staff

Agnieszka Radwanska heads to the Australian Open seeded in the Top 4 for a second straight year, with a strong week at the Apia International Syndey fueling her confidence ahead of the Happy Slam.

"I feel very good," the two-time semifinalist said in her pre-tournament press conference. "I think much better than in China after the first couple matches."

It was a bumpy start for the Pole in Shenzhen, where her title defense came to an abrupt end at the hands of 2016 runner-up Alison Riske.

"Of course, losing the match rhythm, your body isn't used to the matches last two months."

Equipped with a new racquet, Radwanska shook off her Shenzhen Open disappointment to reach her first final of the season in Sydney, where she fell to Johanna Konta in straight sets.

"Losing finals are always disappointing. But it was still a good week. I played a couple great matches against top players. So I'm hoping I can play the same good tennis here in Melbourne."

Radwanska will likely need to maintain that momentum against first round opponent Tsvetana Pironkova. The 2014 Sydney champion is among the tour's most enigmatic players, and is always capable of pulling off an upset - something the former World No.2 learned the hard way at last year's French Open.

"It's a tough draw for sure. We played so many times. Obviously in Paris the last time, but we had a lot of good three-set matches I think on every surface."

Leading their head-to-head 9-3, the former WTA Finals champion has nonetheless won three of her last four meetings against the Bulgarian, and their only hardcourt match back in 2007.

"I'm very confident. I really hope I can play the same tennis I did in Sydney, even the tennis I played in the final.

"Every tournament is different story. Especially with a tough first round. I still have two days to practice here, adjust to surface and conditions. We'll see."

Should she get past Pironkova, she'll have high hopes of reaching the second week, even with Konta or 2016 nemesis Dominika Cibulkova looming as projected quarterfinal foes.

Known best for her grass court prowess, Radwanska planned light schedule last spring, all with an eye on peaking at Wimbledon. Still, with a pair of semifinal appearances Down Under, it could be argued that her chances of winning a maiden major title are just as good in Australia as at the All England Club.

"I really feel good on this center court. I like to play here. I like Australia. I've always played good tennis here. Two semis. Of course, that's always very close to the end. Hopefully I can do one step forward and play seven matches here."

Radwanska plays Pironkova on Tuesday.