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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Radwanska sees off Peng fightback

Photo Titled Agnieszka Radwanska
Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska booked her place in the third round after emerging triumphant from an epic three-hour encounter that swung more ways than an acrobat against China’s Peng Shuai.

The Polish 2005 Wimbledon Junior Champion dominated the opening stages of her 6-2, 6-7 (6-8), 9-7 victory but was pushed to the limit by a remarkably resilient opponent.

A tentative beginning to the match on Court 14 saw the opening four games go with serve, with both players making a series of unforced errors. But it was the Polish 11th seed who settled into her stride first and sparked what turned out to be a thrilling match with a series of powerful ground strokes that pinned her opponent to the base line.

Sensing an opportunity to capture the early initiative, Radwanska made the first break with the most delicate of drop shots to end the stalemate and put her firmly in the driving seat.

There was more evidence of Radwanska’s growing confidence on display as she raced through her next service game before setting up a second opportunity to break her opponent’s serve and tie up the set. Again the drop shot proved to be the clincher for the Pole as Peng was forced to race to the net only to see her soft repost tee up her opponent for a simple volley into an empty court.

With one set secured, Radwanska refused to take her foot of the gas and wasted no time in breaking at the first opportunity in between two steady service games of her own to race into a three game lead.

Peng then staged a dramatic revival, breaking back to put her in contention for taking the second set

But, in the blink of an eye, the match was turned on its head as Peng staged a dramatic revival, breaking back to put her in contention for the second set. As complacency gradually crept into Radwanska’s game, it was the Chinese player’s resilience that proved to be her greatest weapon against an opponent ranked 22 places higher.

Peng, armed with a renewed sense of urgency, looked a different player to the one that had gifted the first set to her opponent and was quick to capitalise on the increasingly dispirited performance coming from the other side of the net.

With the momentum now firmly swung the way of the Chinese woman, there was a sense of inevitability about the tiebreak that went Peng’s way and levelled the match.

With all to play for, both players became tense and, consequently, the third set played host to an extended and enthralling exchange of game breaks. In an exemplary display of determination, neither player was prepared to concede and it soon became apparent that the match was destined to become a marathon.

As the match eventually rolled on to its final stages, Radwanska rediscovered her earlier form to extinguish Peng’s hot streak and clinch victory, claiming an eighth and then a decisive ninth game of the set.

Court 14 - Ladies' Singles - 2nd Round
Agnieszka Radwanska POL (11)Winner6669

Shuai Peng CHN 2787

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