Agnieszka Radwanska pulled off an unlikely win over Jelena Jankovic in the Round of 16 action in Tokyo. Jankovic had started the match in much the brighter form winning the first 9 points and racing into a 3-0 lead using her superb backhand down-the-line to great effect as she took the game to Radwanska. JJ lost her break with a terrible game at 3-1 with some awkward errors at the net, but quickly recovered to take the first set 6-2. She hit 15 winners (the majority with the amazingly accurate backhand) to just 3 from a surprisingly lacklustre Radwanska who lacked any imagination or invention throughout the first set.
Radwanska raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set with some solid hitting as JJ went wandering. Jankovic recovered to 4-3 and looked heading for victory… however Radwanska hung tough and managed to win three games in a row to take the second set. I missed the end of the second set but from all accounts, JJ was on the wrong end of a lines decision and was unable to challenge as she had used them all. The third set was a non-event as JJ tanked the set and at 5-0, she was still discussing the bad line calls to her coach, Ricardo Sanchez. Radwanska converted on her second match point with a superb passing shot.
There have been so many matches I have watched this year involving Jankovic where she has started well but ended up losing. She also seems to lose a lot of tight matches… this is demonstrated in her record of three setters this year as she has won just 5 and lost 13. JJ has no belief at the moment and loses concentration at critical moments of the match. I actually think she was playing pretty well in the first set and for some of the second set but she has lost that killer instinct, which helped her to number one.
It was an excellent victory for Radwanska, who was not playing at her best throughout the first two sets but fought extremely well. She will now play Kaia Kanepi in the Quarters, who shocked a stuttering Caroline Wozniacki, 7-5 1-6 6-4. The off-season will be extremely interesting to see where she takes her game and whether she tries to become more attacking. Jankovic is a prime example that trying to change what you are best at i.e. counter punching will not essentially lead to success.
In other matches, Maria Sharapova edged Julia Goerges in a hard-hitting 7-6 7-6 victory and will now face Petra Kvitova in a rematch of the Wimbledon Final. So many times this year the highly anticipated matches that have looked likely in the drawsheet have not happened so its good for Tokyo this one will take place… Kvitova seems to be gathering momentum after a win against Vania King today and I will be backing her to win… I say 7-6 6-3!