Agnieszka Radwanska was first into Friday’s Apia International final with what was surely her best performance of 2017 so far. Radwanska defeated Barbora Strycova for the seventh consecutive time, wrapping up a straightforward win, 6-1 6-2 in 75 minutes.
It was always going to be a tough match for Strycova who had played a brutal match against Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday in the exceptional heat of Sydney. Radwanska though produced a clean display, making very few unforced errors and with a good return in points up at the net. Strycova struggled to break down Radwanska from the baseline and wasn’t patient enough, tending to commit errors on the forehand side by going for too much.
WTA highlights of Radwanska v Strycova are provided below.
Strycova has had a superb start to the year and is set to rise to a new career best of number 16 in the rankings.
The second semi-final was equally quick as Johanna Konta produced a superb display to defeat Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2 6-2. I’ve managed to watch a few of Konta’s matches this week and she has been returning exceptionally well with such good depth. It appears that it was more of the same on Thursday with a couple of clean return winners.
WTA highlights of Konta v Bouchard can be found below.
I’m sure Bouchard will take away the positives from this tournament… I didn’t expect her to get out of round one, let alone make the semi-finals!
Sydney’s final will be the second all top ten clash of 2017 with Radwanska taking on Konta at not before 6.30pm local time (7.30am UK time). Radwanska’s been improving all week, while Konta has produced a remarkably consistent level in all of her 2017 matches. Radwanska leads the head-to-head, 2-0 but that will be under jeopardy if Konta brings her semi-final level. Not an easy pick but i’m going for Radwanska in three sets.
Hobart is a round behind Sydney where Elise Mertens, Jana Fett, Monica Niculescu and Lesia Tsurenko have all progressed to the semi-finals. Despite all the withdrawals, Niculescu v Tsurenko is actually a solid semi-final for an International tournament. I’m going for a Mertens v Niculescu final.
After the Vickery-Mertens debacle of a few days ago, it’s slightly awkward how things have turned out…
And that gets us onto the Australian Open where the first round of qualifying was completed on Thursday. A few notable results…
Natalia Vikhlyantseva d. Daniela Hantuchova, 6-1 6-3
Taylor Townsend d. Tereza Smitkova, 6-0 7-6(2)
Mona Barthel d. Richel Hogenkamp, 6-2 6-1
Amandine Hesse d. Laura Robson, 6-2 6-4
Lucie Hradecka d. Antonia Lottner, 7-6(3) 6-4
The main draw is just a few hours away and will start at 11am local time (12pm UK time). I’ll be doing my usual by sleeping through it and catching up tomorrow. They always take an age to get on with the Australian Open draw and I find following it on Twitter is equally excruciating with so many repeat tweets. I’ll look forward to scanning through the draw on Friday morning with the bumper MTB preview going up on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Thanks to Ben Rothenberg for this… i’m pleased to see the debacle of the WTA streaming finally get some coverage. Interestingly, there’s still no new website or WTA Networks which were both set to be released on the 1st of January.
Here’s an interview with Jarmila Wolfe who announced her retirement from tennis yesterday.
And finally, some good news from Petra on Facebook!