Aus Open QF: (4) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (10) Carla Suarez Navarro
Two of the craftiest players on tour will go head-to-head for a spot in the semi-finals at the Australian Open when Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Carla Suarez Navarro at RLA on Tuesday. Radwanska and Carla have been in reasonably good form at Melbourne Park but both survived a scare in the fourth round. This should be an entertaining match between two of the cleverest and most skilful players on the WTA tour, it will not be easy to win points in this match-up.
Aga Radwanska will be making her sixth quarter-final appearance at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, the Pole has always been very consistent in Melbourne but is keener than ever to go a couple of steps further in 2016. Radwanska cruised through her opening three matches with relative ease, recording straight set victories over Christina McHale, Eugenie Bouchard and Monica Puig. Surprisingly, it was in the fourth round that Radwanska faced her biggest test. The Pole was outplayed for large chunks of her fourth round clash with Anna-Lena Friedsam but managed to outlast her German opponent to claim a 6-7 6-1 7-5 victory. The good news for Radwanska is that she hasn’t wasted too much energy to reach the crucial stage of the event and she should be relatively fresh when it matters most.
Carla Suarez Navarro has made the most of a very favourable draw to reach the quarter-final stage at Melbourne Park for the second time in her career. The Spaniard’s first three opponents were all ranked outside the top 100, Carla posted victories over Viktorija Golubic, Maria Sakkari and Elizaveta Kulichkova. Carla faced her toughest challenge in the fourth round where she came up against an in form Daria Gavrilova, Carla was totally outplayed in the first set but the Spaniard stuck around and eventually benefited from an erratic Gavrilova to record a 0-6 6-3 6-2 victory. Carla received treatment for a knee injury midway through the second set and admitted that she was in considerable pain throughout the match, not a good position to be in heading into a match with Agnieszka Radwanska.
Radwanska holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Suarez Navarro. However, it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious in their most recent encounter, defeating Radwanska 5-7 6-0 6-4 in Miami last year. Much has changed since that match, these two have generally gone in different directions with Radwanska’s form dramatically improving whilst Suarez Navarro has generally struggled since her run to the final in Miami.
I suspect Radwanska has a pretty clear edge heading into this match. Radwanska is in great form, heading into this match on a 12-match winning streak. Both ladies enter this match with injury concerns but Suarez Navarro’s injury problems seem to be far more serious and that could be a big factor in a match like this which will be very physical. On a relatively quick hard court Radwanska should have enough weapons to get past Suarez Navarro, Aga’s serve is stronger and she has a bit more firepower from the baseline and also seems stronger physically heading into this match.