The biggest moment in Urszula Radwanska’s young career will take on place on Saturday when comes up against Maria Sharapova in front of a capacity home crowd. Maria will be the heavy favourite in this match, a rare Fed Cup appearance by the world number 2.
Maria Sharapova will make her first Fed Cup appearance since early 2012 and her first away appearance since Russia’s infamous trip to Israel in 2008. Maria arrives in Krakow full of confidence after a successful Australian summer. Maria claimed the first major title of the season in Brisbane where she defeated Ana Ivanovic in the final before a successful run to the final at the Australian Open where she succumbed to Serena Williams for a sixteenth consecutive occasion in what was a highly competitive final.
After a disappointing 2014, Ula has started 2015 off reasonably well. Ula came through qualifiers to reach the quarter-finals in Auckland before successfully coming through the qualifying draw at Melbourne Park. Ula did however suffer a first round exit in Melbourne, defeated by Zarina Diyas in three sets.
Maria Sharapova won the only previous match between the two, a 6-4 7-5 victory in Los Angeles all the way in 2009. Maria has made such an impressive start to the season, it’s hard to see Ula causing too many problems for the world number two. Ula doesn't really have any weapons to trouble Maria and she doesn't really have the movement to put a lot of pressure on Maria. This should be a relatively comfortable victory for Sharapova.
Prediction: Maria Sharapova to defeat Urszula Radwanska in 2 sets
(31) Zarina Diyas vs (Q) Urszula Radwanska
In one of Mondays most intriguing first round matches, rising star Zarina Diyas will face a rejuvenated Urszula Radwanska out on court 7.
After an extremely difficult and frustrating season in 20114, Ula will be looking forward to a much brighter season in 2015. Early signs have been good, Ula progressed through qualies to reach the quarter-finals in Auckland, defeating Hantuchova and Schiavone on route to the final 8.
Ula started her Australian Open Qualifying campaign with two comprehensive straight set victories however she was made to work extremely hard for her final round victory. Ula survived an early scare to defeat Hiroko Kuwata 2-6 6-1 7-5. Ula struggled with the gusty conditions in the opening set but as the match went on she got better and better, as did the conditions.
Zarina Diyas will be seeded for the first time at Grand Slam this year Melbourne. The Kazakh has made a mediocre start to the season, suffering disappointing quarter-final losses to Alison Riske and Saisai Zheng in Auckland and Shenzhen.
After a breakthrough 2014 season, it will be interesting to see how Diyas performs in 2015. Given Zarina is seeded in Melbourne for the first time there will be pressure on her to perform and at least reach the third round. It's hard to know how she will deal with this extra pressure and expectations.
Ula won the only previous meeting between these two, a straight set victory in Rome last season.
This is an extremely difficult match to call, I'm leaning towards Ula. The Pole has played a lot of matches in the last few weeks and will be used to conditions at Melbourne Park having come through qualies.
Prediction: Urszula Radwanska to defeat Zarina Diyas in three sets