An enticing match-up between third seed Agnieszka Radwanska and resurgent Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova is scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon in Madrid. This marks the 14th time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with the Russian leading the series with an impressive 10-3 record, including the last six consecutive matches.
World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska battled past Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open, and closed out the match 7-6(3), 6-2. The Pole was in better form during the contest, as she won 76% of her first service points, which was evident in the second set.
“Of course it was a very tough first round, especially for my first outdoor tournament on clay,” Radwanska said. “I didn’t use my first chance when I was 5-3 up, but she was really playing and hitting the ball unbelievable. I think the tie-break was the biggest key in that match. I did a couple of good shots in the tie-break and managed to win that – and that gave me more confidence in the second set.
“Every point matters. The games were really tight. And the first set is always very important, especially in these kinds of matches – so that’s why I really doing everything to win that first set.”
With Victoria Azarenka being forced to withdraw due to a foot injury, Serena Williams, Li Na, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep are the Top 4 seeds at the event this year. Radwanska is placed in the third quarter, and having defeated Bouchard, and with Kerber upset by Caroline Garcia, Radwanksa’s biggest test in her quarter is Kuznetsova.
World No. 29 Kuznetsova followed up on her fantastic week in Portugal, where she finished runner-up to Carla Suarez Navarro, with another big upset in Madrid, as she defeated French No. 1 Alize Cornet 6-3, 4-6, 6-1 to set up her second round match against Radwanska.
This is an extraordinarily tough match-up for the third seed, as the Russian leads Radwanska 10-3 in the head-to-head series, and has won their last six consecutive encounters on the tour. Their last meeting was a clay court meeting at the 2012 French Open, which Kuznetsova dominated 6-1, 6-2. Considering her fantastic performances over the past couple of weeks, it would be tough to bet against Kuznetsova.
Prediction: Svetlana Kuznetsova in Three Sets