Venus Out, Agnieszka Radwanska For Real

French Open 2012
By Hiland Doolittle, May 31st, 2012

When it comes to Grand Slam events, the men seem to stay in form. That is certainly the case this year as all the big names moved ahead. Top seed Novak Djokovic won in three sets, Roger Federer (3) needed four sets, Gilles Simon (11) withstood a stern five set challenge from America’s Horatio Alger, Brian Baker, in the most dramatic match of the day.
On a rain-shortened Wednesday, Juan Martin del Potro won in four, Berdych (7) swept as did dangerous Marin Cilic (21). Form is holding but the rain may have saved an un-energized Jo Wilfried Tsonga (5) when play was suspended at a set apiece and 1-1 in the third. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe of Germany, the 91st ranked player on the ATP tour, surprised Tsonga winning the second set 6-4. When play was halted, Stebe had the momentum.

Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska ousted Venus Williams on Day 4 of French Open 2012

The short day put the focus where it was deserved and that was with Poland’s 3 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska. While Sharapova (1) and Agnieszka (2) have dominated the headlines, the smooth Radwanska went about injecting herself into the championship mix. Her abrupt dismissal of gracious Venus Williams, 6-2, 6-3 in less than one hour vaulted Radwanksa from dark horse with an outside chance to the lofty position of favored semifinalist with a chance at the last dance.

Against William, Radwanska was every bit the 3rd seed. She showed the composure of a champion. She is confident and has moved up the ladder without the fanfare afforded the top two seeds. Agnieszka won 73 percent of her first serves against the oft-time Grand Slam winner, who like her sister does not prefer clay. But, these are the matches the Williams sisters need to win. Venus only won 46 percent of vaunted first serves. Just as Virginie Razzano did to Serena, Agnieszka was moving forward to unleash powerful groundstrokes against Venus. In fact, she had a higher percentage of second serve wins than first serve wins.

Venus committed 33 unforced errors. Radwanska committed six. Six! Against Venus Williams? You have to be kidding! Six unforced errors. Check this one. Agnieszka converted all five of her break point opportunities. She lost serve once.
This year, Radwanska has won nearly $2 million. Her won-lost record is an impressive 32-7. At 23 years old, her best days are right now. To build a stronger case, Radwanska has a very favorable draw to the semis. She is heavily favored to advance. In her third round, she will meet clay court strategist and former French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. If she is successful, she will play the winner of the Errani (21) and in-form former French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic (13). With today’s upset of France’s 8 seed, Marion Bartoli by Petra Martic, 11-10 on the year, the low end of the bracket is up for grabs. The biggest challenge should come from Germany’s hard-serving Angelique Kerber (10), Radwanska’s doubles partner.

First Serena, now Venus. We have ourselves a great tournament. Watch out for consistent Radwanska and Li Na to meet in the finals.


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