Beijing QF #2: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (10) Angelique Kerber
A blockbuster quarter-final match-up at the China Open on Friday sees former champion Agnieszka Radwanska come up against Angelique Kerber. This promises to be a fascinating encounter, these two played out arguably the best match of the year thus far in Stanford a couple of months ago. Aga and Angie are both fighting for one of the remaining sports at the WTA Finals in Singapore, both ladies look almost certain to make it from here after achieving good results during the Asian swing.
Agnieszka Radwanska is arguably in the best form she has been in all year. The Pole played some amazing tennis on route to the title in Tokyo where she defeated several quality opponents without dropping a set. Radwanska has benefited from two retirements this week, against CoCo Vandeweghe and Madison Keys, on both occasions Radwanska won the first set 6-3 before her opponent retired with an injury. Radwanska’s greatest test came in the second round where she was forced to come from a set down to defeat the always dangerous Mona Barthel 4-6 6-1 6-4. Radwanska is currently ranked 8th in the live race to Singapore standings and can confirm her position in her 5th consecutive season ending championships by winning the title in Beijing.
Angelique Kerber also enters this quarter-final match in solid form. The German reached the quarter-finals in Toyo and the semi-finals in Wuhan before arriving in Beijing. Angie is now 6th in the live race to Singapore standing and looks to have all but confirmed her place at another season ending championships.
Angie has recorded two comprehensive victories over high quality opponents to advance to the quarter-final stage in Beijing. Angie received a performance bye into the second round where she thumped Dominika Cibulkova 6-1 6-4 in a surprisingly straightforward match for the German. Angie backed up that performance with another surprisingly straightforward victory, defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-3 in a dominant display.
Aga and Angie have built up one of the most even and competitive rivalries on tour, the head-to-head record between the pair is currently split at 5 wins apiece. Kerber has had the wood over Radwanska in recent times, winning 3 of the last 4 encounters between the pair. Their most recent match was an epic, many considering it the best of the season thus far. It was Kerber who prevailed 4-6 6-4 6-4 on route to the title in Stanford.
This promises to be another extremely close match between two very evenly matched players. Both ladies enter this match in great form, both are such great movers and give very little away, which means it’s tough to find ways to win points in this match-up. I give Radwanska the slight edge because of her great variety, most notably her superior ability when coming forward to the net, a valuable asset in a match-up like this.