WTA Finals Singapore, Day 1 Preview: Maria Sharapova v Agnieszka Radwanska

Radwanska

The second of the round robin matches from day 1 of the 2015 WTA Finals in Singapore will feature the number three seed, Maria Sharapova against the number five seed, Agnieszka Radwanska at not before 7.30pm local time. The pair played in Singapore last year with Sharapova winning a lengthy encounter, 7-5 6-7 (2) 6-2.

The result of last year’s clash in Singapore somewhat masks the ramifications of the match. At one stage, Sharapova led 7-5 5-1; Radwanska won five straight games and saved three match points to force a second set tiebreak. Another double fault from Sharapova down set point gifted Radwanska the set. By virtue of dropping that set, it was Radwanska who qualified for the semi-finals last year and not Sharapova.

2015 has been a season of two halves for both Sharapova and Radwanska. Sharapova had an impressive first six months to the year, winning two titles in Brisbane and Rome, and reaching the final of the Australian Open. While there were a few disappointments, notably having to pull out of the semi-finals in Acapulco due to illness and early losses in Miami and Stuttgart, the former which can be attributed to a leg injury. However, the highs easily outweighed the lows. Illness played a part in Sharapova’s preparations for the French Open where she reached the fourth round, but she bounced back to make the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

Since the grass court season, Sharapova has played just once in a match she was unable to finish. A leg injury forced her to miss the entire summer hard court season and in her first match since Wimbledon, a wrist injury forced her to retire in Wuhan at the beginning of the third set against Barbora Strycova. Sharapova was the second player to qualify for Singapore this year which shows how well she performed during the first half of the year. It’s been nearly a month for Sharapova since Wuhan to recover but one of the main issues will be rust and having not competed for such a long time. Also, this isn’t a normal tournament and she will have to hit the ground running against top ten opposition.

Radwanska’s year has been a polar opposite to Sharapova; after a miserable first five months, Radwanska steadied the ship and has bloomed during the Asian Swing. Radwanska posted a 15-13 W-L record between Sydney and the French Open, failing to reach a final and losing to the world number 83, Annika Beck in the first round in Paris in what was her toughest loss of the year. Since the clay, Radwanska has found the form, consistency and confidence that has been ever-present during the last couple of years. Radwanska has won 33 matches since the French Open, including two titles in Tokyo and Tianjin, and heads into Singapore as one of the in-form players.

Sharapova leads Radwanska, 12-2 in a one-sided head-to-head. Radwanska’s wins have come at the US Open (6-4 1-6 6-2, 2007) and Miami (7-5 7-4, 2012). This will be the third time in four years that they have played at the WTA Finals with Sharapova winning their last two in three lengthy sets. The head-to-head cannot be ignored with Sharapova having the edge against Radwanska. Equally though, Sharapova’s lack of matches and injury concerns could counteract that. Factor in Radwanska’s decent form of late and i’m just edging towards the number five seed.

Prediction: Radwanska d. Sharapova in 3 sets

11 thoughts on “WTA Finals Singapore, Day 1 Preview: Maria Sharapova v Agnieszka Radwanska

  1. I’ve always rooted for Sharapova, but the uncertainty looming over her game has me nervous. I watched her Wuhan match, and she was playing extremely well when she was up 5-3 in the first set (even though she trashed 6 match points in that game). I feel that she is definitely more fresh than Radwanska, though, who has played a lot of tennis in the Asian swing. This match could go either way.

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  2. The slower courts should favour Radwanska! Plus, she has a lot of momentum coming into this tournament, which cant be said for MaSha. Lets just hope Aga’s performance is reminiscent to the one she displayed against Vika at the Australian Open, and ends up dishing bakery products (never gets old James) to Maria.

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      • I agree. Slower court just like clay in RG. It will work for Sharapova. The issue here is the “bouncing” height of the ball may affect certain players (I guess). If it bounces lower tomedium may favour shorter players like Aga or Halep. This match depends on Maria.

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      • I totally understand your point, but Aga is a fantastic scrambler. She could easily put back everything that Sharapova sends her way and frustrate her. Plus, Maria hasn’t played in ages. The slower courts could give her almost too much time to think over and hit a shot, which could result in a lot of errors. It could go either way.

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      • Sometimes people should not underestimate Sharapova. Serena and Sharapova are made of steel. They can turn around very quickly since the H2H is 12-2. It means something….

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  3. I don’t understand why slower court favours Aga. Slower court in fact gives Sharapova times to place her shots if she is rusty and needs time to position herself. 2012 Miami Sharapova basically gifted the match to Aga with load of unforced errors. I think Sharapova somehow finds her way to win this one unless she has 15 DBs.

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  4. Gutsy win from Maria,yes there is still rust in her game,which is understandable,Aga did have her chances in the 3rd set,she could not convert.

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  5. I’m just glad she is there at all. Aside from Serena, she’s about the only player who displays enough mettle to forge ahead against unfavourable odds. Hopefully in a few years I can say the same of Garbine. As to whether Maria can win this tournament, I have my doubts, but will she give a yeowoman’s account of her day at the office, you bet she will.

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