(5) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Caroline Garcia
2012 Dubai Duty Free Champion, Agnieszka Radwanska will kick off her 2015 Dubai campaign on Tuesday when she takes on the dangerous Caroline Garcia. Radwanska and Garcia played out two epic matches last year, winning one match apiece. Radwanska will be very aware of the threat Garcia poses.
Agnieszka Radwanska has had a disappointing start to the season, a season in which a lot is expected of Pole after she hired Martina Navratilova to coach her alongside Tomasz Wiktorowski. Radwanska raced through her opening three matches in Melbourne before being eliminated in the fourth round by a resurgent Venus WIlliams.
Radwanska recently represented Poland in their Fed Cup World Group tie with Russia in her hometown of Krakow. Unfortunately for Radwanska, she would lose both her singles matches as Poland slumped to a 0-4 defeat. Radwanska was rusty and looked sluggish throughout the tie, suffering a disappointing three set loss to Kuznetsova in the opening rubber before being defeated by Maria Sharapova in straight sets.
Caroline Garcia advanced to the second round in Dubai with a comprehensive 6-3 6-2 victory over Arina Rodionova. The youngster has made a solid start to her 2015 campaign, highlighted by a pivotal three set victory over Camila Giorgi to keep France alive in its Fed Cup tie with Italy.
Garcia then teamed up with Kristina Mladenovic to thump Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 6-1 6-2 in the decisive doubles rubber, completing a memorable comeback victory for the French team. Garcia will come into this match full of confidence given her recent victory over the Pole.
These two have met on two previous occasions, both picking up one victory apiece. Radwanska prevailed in the first meeting between the pair, a hard fought 6-4 4-6 6-4 victory in Madrid last year. It was Garcia who came out on top in their only previous meeting on a hard court, a marathon 3-6 7-6 7-6 victory in Wuhan late last year. It was in Wuhan last year that Garcia really made a name for herself, defeating Venus Williams and then Radwanska, both matches decided by a third set tiebreaker.
Radwanska will be desperate to avenge her recent loss to Garcia but more importantly she needs a win to gain some much needed momentum. Aga has traditionally performed well during the Doha/Dubai swing and will be desperate to perform well over the next couple of weeks to get her season back on track. Garcia is undoubtedly an awkward matchup for Aga, the frenchwomen has the power and variety to trouble Aga, however her consistency really lets her down. I suspect Aga will be too classy on this occasion.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Caroline Garcia in 2 sets