Radwanska sets up Venus clash
Originally published on 24/01/15
The No.6 seed continued her impressive start in Melbourne, beating Varvara Lepchenko 6-0 7-5 to set up a fourth-round clash with Venus Williams.
Radwanska has been one of the most consistent performers in the women’s game since breaking into the top 10 in 2008. She has played 10 Grand Slam quarter-finals, but has reached just one final – at Wimbledon in 2012 when she lost to Serena Williams.
The appointment of 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova at the end of last season appears to be paying dividends already, with the Pole dropping just nine games in her opening three matches.
“So far I think I can't complain about anything,” said Radwanska, who has spent just three hours and 11 minutes on court so far. “I had three really great matches, three short matches, so I'm fresh. I didn't spend much time on the court, which is good. Everything was working so far, so hopefully I can still play the same tennis on the same level.”
Radwanska has reached the quarter-finals or better in Melbourne every year since 2011, but hopes that with the help of Navratilova she can go further than ever before and string together seven wins in a row.
“I think it's a lot of things, but of course at this level, I think it's just really small details that are very important,” Radwanska said of Navratilova’s input. “Of course everybody can play great tennis, but if you want to win a Grand Slam, you really have to do everything right.
“That's what we're working on, just to focus on very important things and talking on and off the court, and just to figure out everything just to win those seven matches in a row.”
Standing between Radwanska and a place in the quarter-finals is 34-year-old Venus Williams, who has been rolling back the years in Melbourne. The American looked to be on her way out of the draw when she trailed Camila Giorgi 4-6 3-5, but dug deep to force a tiebreak before streaking away to a 4-6 7-6(3) 6-1 victory.
Williams leads their head-to-head 5-4, but the Pole has won the last three meetings in straight sets, including victory in the Rogers Cup final in Montreal last year.
“Playing her is always great challenge," said Radwanska. "I think she is still playing great tennis even though she's a bit older. She's still really fit and playing a high level. I think it's going to be another good match.”
Radwanska also takes confidence from her victory over world No.1 Serena Williams at the Hopman Cup in Perth. Because the win was not at a WTA-sanctioned event the records will still say she trails 8-0 in her head-to-head against the younger Williams sister, but Radwanska says winning the event for Poland with Jerzy Janowicz gave her an early-season boost.
“Definitely a lot,” she said when asked how much confidence she took out of her performance in Perth. “The first few matches in the beginning of the year are always tricky. I think I really played good tennis out there, especially in the final against the US; winning the singles and even the mixed doubles. Of course winning those kinds of event is always great and always a lot of confidence as well.”