The first of the women’s quarter-finals on Tuesday will be contested between Agnieszka Radwanska and Carla Suárez Navarro. Both players advanced to the quarter-finals by coming from a set down in their fourth round matches. Radwanska was staring down another fourth round exit at the Australian Open, down 2-5 in the third set against an at-times inspired, Anna-Lena Friedsam. The pair had played out one of the more entertaining sets of women’s tennis so far this year in the opening set; Radwanska had served for the set and even had a set point having initially recovered a 1-4 deficit. Friedsam though would not be denied as she mantained an aggressive stance and deservedly took the set on the tiebreak.
Radwanska hit back in the second set and looked well on her way into the quarters when she got the early break in the decider, While visibly tired, adrenaline seemed to kick in for a peak-Friedsam who reeled off five straight games. After failing to serve out the match, she then took a medical time-out just before Radwanska came out to serve for the set. The Polish player came within two points of defeat but once securing that vital hold, it was clear that Friedsam was in trouble. She began to cramp badly and unfortunately that was that… Radwanska, while somewhat fortuitous, battled back to secure the win.
Suárez Navarro’s match was equally turbulent as she recovered from a bagel opening set to beat a frustrated, Daria Gavrilova, 0-6 6-3 6-2. The Aussie looked a little spent in the deciding set, both physically and mentally, unable to stay in the points against a rock-solid, Suárez Navarro. She was so impatient in the rallies and the Spaniard’s superior composure shone through. While it was a bad day at the office for Gavrilova, she can be exceptionally proud of her efforts this week.
Head-to-head record: Radwanska leads Suárez Navarro, 2-1 in their head-to-head. While Aga won their first two, Carla won their most recent encounter last year in Miami, coming from a set down to win, 5-7 6-0 6-4.
Interesting stat: Suárez Navarro first reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open all the way back in 2009 in her first main draw appearance. Since then, the Spaniard hadn’t made it past the third round. Suárez Navarro will be seeking to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final.
Analysis: I have question marks over both players; I don’t think Radwanska has played anywhere close to her best tennis this tournament but to her credit, she has battled through and reached the last eight. I wonder how much a leg injury, which was heavily taped against Friedsam, is bothering her. Suárez Navarro’s level has been respectable but Gavrilova was the first top 100 player she had come up against in this tournament. The third set against Gavrilova was impressive in terms of how she maintained a cool head, but she wasn’t pushed by her opponent. Furthermore, she also took a medical time-out for a knee injury. This match is bound to have plenty of longgg rallies and I think it should be entertaining. As mentioned above, i’m not convinced by Aga so far this week, but I wonder if Suárez Navarro has it within her, in these circumstances, to fully capitalise…
Prediction: Radwanska d. Suárez Navarro in 3 sets