Miami Open R2: (2) Agnieszka Radwanska vs Alize Cornet
Former champion Agnieszka Radwanska will begin her 2016 Miami Open campaign with a potentially tough second round clash with Alize Cornet. Radwanska and Cornet arrived in Miami with contrasting form and preparation, Radwanska has been one of the most consistent players in recent months whilst Alize Cornet is playing in her first tournament since the Australian Open after spending almost 2 months on the sidelines due to injury. Nevertheless, these two always have very competitive matches and this will probably be no different.
Aga Radwanska is back up to a career high ranking of world number 2 after a supremely consistent last 6 months of tennis. The Pole has reached at least the semi-final stage in 7 of her last 8 events and went on to win the title in 3 of those events. Aga seems to be playing with more confidence than ever and will be extra confident at this event given she is a former champion at the Miami Open. Radwanska played some impressive tennis last week in Indian Wells, showing encouraging signs in her semi-final defeat to Serena Williams. Despite losing that semi-final in straight sets 4-6 6-7, it was arguably the best Aga has ever looked against Serena, hitting with greater depth and pace than any of their previous matches. Aga will be hoping for another deep run over the next couple of week at the Miami Open and there is little to suggest that she will not be able to achieve that.
Alize Cornet surprised many when she announced that she would be taking part in the Miami Open given previous reports suggested that she may be sidelined from the tour for many months. Alize has shown great fighting spirit and determination throughout her career, her quick recovery from a potentially serious injury is just another example of this. Alize made a winning start to her comeback courtesy of a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 victory over Galina Voskoboeva, a typically gutsy win. The Frenchwoman will face a much tougher task in her second round clash when she comes up against an in form Agnieszka Radwanska, an opponent Alize has defeated on just 1 previous occasion at tour level.
Radwanska holds a seemingly commanding 6-1 head-to-head record over Alize Cornet, however the head-to-head series is much close than that would suggest given all of their previous matches have been close, usually long matches. Radwanska won the most recent clash between the pair, a 6-4 6-2 win in New Haven last year. These two play a very similar game, both are crafty players that are primarily great defenders and give very little free points away, often resulting in a close match with many long rallies.
Radwanska clearly has the edge heading into this match given her far superior preparation for this event. Cornet has been sidelined due to injury for a couple of months and will find it very hard to compete at a high level for long enough to really trouble an in form Agnieszka Radwanska. I suspect Aga will be too good for Alize on this occasion but it will not be an easy match as Alize will never go down without a fight.