(7) Venus WIlliams vs (4) Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska will be seeking revenge in Thursday’s first quarter-final at the Qatar Total Open when she comes up against Venus Williams. Aga succumbed to Venus in the fourth round of this years Australian Open. Aga’s fourth round loss to Venus was an extremely disappointing result for the Pole, given it was her first first Grand Slam under the guidance of Martina Navratilova, a lot more was expected of Aga.
Venus Williams has come through two tough matches in Doha to reach her third quarter-final of the season. Venus came from a set down to defeat Casey Dellacqua 3-6 6-2 6-1 before defeating Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-5 3-6 7-6 in a fierce three hour battle.
There was a real edge to the second round match between Venus and Barbora, Venus was uncharacteristically fired up throughout the match. The third set was extremely tense, Venus served for the match at 5-4 but was unable to close it out as Barbora came up with some stunning defensive efforts. Strycova then had a match point in the American’s next service game but hit a backhand long, it was here that Venus let out a massive cry of ‘come on,’ something Venus very rarely does.
Venus then went on to win a drama filled tiebreaker that seemed to turn when Strycova became disgruntled after the chair umpire allowed Venus to make a late challenge. Venus remained composed and eventually closed out the match to set up a quarter-final meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska.
Agnieszka Radwanska advanced to the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 6-1 6-1 drubbing of Flavia Pennetta. After losing her two previous matches against the Italian, Aga seemed extra focused, clearly wary of the threats Flavia poses.
Aga dictated play from start to finish in what was her best performance in the last month. The Pole was extremely consistent from the baseline, served well and successfully threw in the drop shot on numerous occasion, including a marvelous drop shot to end the match. Aga now has a chance to avenge her fourth round loss to Venus at the Australian Open.
Venus Williams holds a 6-4 head to head advantage over the Pole. The two have met twice in recent times, trading victories. Aga thumped a fatigued Venus 6-4 6-2 in the final of last years Rogers Cup, Venus avenged that loss with a 6-3 2-6 6-1 victory over the Pole in the fourth round of this years Australian Open. Venus produced a vintage performance to blow Aga off the court, once again showing that American’s best is extremely tough for Aga to handle.
The result of this match will depend on how well Venus plays. There is little doubt that if Venus plays her best tennis, she is simply has too much firepower for Aga to deal with. However you never quite know what you will get with Venus, despite her significant improvements this season. Aga made a wonderful start to her Doha campaign and is well prepared for this match. I’m going to stick with Aga to advance to her fourth consecutive semi-final in Doha.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Venus WIlliams in 3 sets