Wimbledon SF #2 (20) Garbine Muguruza vs (13) Aga Radwanska
An unexpected semifinal match-up sees Garbine Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwanska square off for a place in the final at SW19. This is a gigantic opportunity for both ladies, for different reasons. A chance for Garbine Muguruza to reach her first Grand Slam final, at such a young age. A chance for the experienced Agnieszka Radwanska to move one step closer to an increasingly elusive maiden Grand Slam title.
Garbine Muguruza’s route to the semifinals has been a memorable one. Of all the remaining competitors, Garbine’s journey to the final four has been the toughest, defeating five challenging opponents on route to her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Garbine overcame Varvara Lepchenko and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the opening two rounds, doing well to avoid a potential upset. The Spaniard’s most impressive performance thus far was in the third round where she recorded a 7-6 1-6 6-3 victory over an in form Angelique Kerber. Garbine blasted 57 winners past Angie in that match and backed up that encouraging performance with a 6-4 6-4 win over Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round where she hit 29 winners.
Garbine secured her place in her first Grand Slam semifinal with a hard fought 7-5 6-3 victory over Timea Bacsinszky on Tuesday. There was very little to separate the pair, Garbine was ultimately the better player when it mattered most, saving a couple of critical break points whilst making the most of the few chances that she had. That has been the theme all tournament for Garbine, she has played the big points extremely well, highlighted by her extraordinary effort to save 9 set points in the opening set against Angelique Kerber, most of which were saved by stunning winners.
Agnieszka Radwanska has completely turned her season around over the last couple of weeks. The Pole was able to build momentum in Nottingham and Eastbourne and has brought that form to SW19 where she has now reached the semifinal stage for the third time in her career. The third time in the last four years.
Radwanska has been back to her consistent best in London. at times this season Aga has been trying too hard to be aggressive, However it seems Aga has once again found the right balance between attack and defense. Aga has improved throughout the tournament, The Pole breezed past Lucie Hradecka, Ajla Tomljanovic and Casey Dellacqua before overcoming Jelena Jankovic 7-5 6-4 in a tight fourth round encounter.
Radwanska earned her spot in the final four with a tough 7-6 3-6 6-3 victory over Madison Keys. The match was certainly on Madison’s racquet, the American hit 48 winners whilst Aga hit just 13. It was Aga’s consistency that ultimately prevailed, Aga hit just 7 unforced errors and served consistently well throughout the match.
Radwanska is now just 2 wins away from an elusive maiden Grand Slam title, a position she has been in a couple of times but has failed to take advantage of. It’s not going to be easy, Radwanska will have to overcome two powerful opponents if she is to emerge victorious. Aga will know better than anyone that opportunities like this are rare, she may not have many more chances to fulfill her biggest goal. Expect Aga to really step it up on Thursday when she comes up against Muguruza for a spot in the final.
The head to head record between Aga and Garbine is split at 2 wins apiece. Radwanska won their first two meetings, including a convincing 6-1 6-3 victory at the Australian Open in 2014. Both of Garbine’s victories have come in 2015, a 3-6 7-6 6-2 triumph in Sydney followed by a 6-4 6-2 win in Dubai. Radwanska was sick in Dubai which I suspect had a large impact on the result.
This is going to be a fascinating encounter, the stakes are extremely high with a spot in the final on the line. I think Radwanska will have the edge in this one. Aga has much more experience at the later stages of a Grand Slam, particularly at Wimbledon. Furthermore Aga is generally more comfortable on grass, although Garbine’s results this week show that she is very capable on the surface.
Aga will be able to absorb enough of Garbine’s pace to really trouble the Spaniard, just like she did against Keys in the quarterfinals which was perfect preparation for this clash. If Radwanska an continue to serve well and reamin solid form the baseline, I’m confident that the Pole will find a way to win this one.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets