Porsche Grand Prix Tennis: Meet the new Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska has always been a player I feel has underachieved. While her friends and contemporaries Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka have gone onto much better things – rising to number one and reaching the top 5 respectfully, Radwanska has found herself beating most players she should beat and then being soundly beaten by the first elite player she meets.

She seems to think the same too, because so far this year a lightbulb seems to have flicked on. She used to play the role of a counterpuncher who stood far behind the baseline and beat players mostly through consistency. However, nowadays that variety seems to be the rule rather than a ploy to keep her opponents guessing. Against Schiavone she played some brilliant tennis, looking to take the initiative on every ball – whether it be to take it early and be aggressive, to hit a dropshot, to move forward and so on. That coupled with the new-found power on her serve, and this ‘new Agnieska’ really is a joy to watch.

Speaking of her contemporaries, there were mixed results for Wozniacki and Azarenka Wednesday. Top-seeded Wozniacki made light and easy work of Kristina Kucova. Her match made for quite hilarious watching as she toyed with her opponent for most of the match, and by the end she was experimenting with her two-handed dropshots and random forays to the net, with comical results. For Azarenka however, it was the complete opposite. After looking impressive in cleaning up the first set on Goerges, out of the blue she walked up to the net and retired, citing a shoulder injury.

But once again, the Germans ruled the roost in Stuttgart with Andrea Petkovic, Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges and Kristina Barrois all advancing to the quarterfinals, making it the first time since 1994 that four Germans made the quarters here. I had a chance to speak to Goerges after the match and she was understandably excited about her quarterfinal clash against Lisicki; “I think we are German rivals, but not in a bad way. We push each other, and it’s nice having a player from Germany in the semifinals, so we will see tomorrow.”

However, Petkovic once again stole the show in her own press conference. Speaking about her relationships with the top players, she said; “People really think we hate each other, but actually we’re all good friends. And you know what is funny? The top players are friendlier than other players sometimes [..] I cannot think of anyone I don’t get along with.” And then, with a wink, she looked at me and joked “and I’m still not Paris Hilton”.

Tumaini Carayol is in Suttgart covering the Porsche Tennis  Grand Prix  for Tennis Panorama News and TennisGrandstand. He is a  contributing writer at On The Baseline, and writes about professional tennis at his site Foot Fault. Follow his Stuttgart coverage here and on our twitter account @GVTennisNews. Follow him on twitter at @FootFault_.
Photos © by Ralf Reinecke

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