Agnieszka Radwanska still couldn’t find her game to start the US Open on Monday afternoon. The Polish tennis star handed Tatiana Maria a maiden victory against her in the shape of a 6-3, 6-3 score on Court 13 at the Billy Jean King National Tennis Center.
This was their fourth meeting against one another and the second to come in a major. They haven’t met in two years and for both, each one found themselves on a different path.
The defending champion of the Connecticut Open didn’t get beyond the first round losing to Petra Kvitova in a tough straight sets blow. It became her third loss in a row as she was unable to get her hardcourt journey strong.
Radwanska fell far down the ranks getting herself in a prime spot to get a win in New York. Maria had a slightly better outcome winning her opening match at Cincinnati that became her third straight on hard courts. While she didn’t get enough time to prepare for the final major, she found herself in a situation where handling the competition was possible.
Radwanska came right out of the gate breaking Maria’s service game before consolidating a 2-0 lead. Maria struck back holding serve before earning a break that leveled her back with the Polish star. She began to stick to the groove made and took the lead in the fifth with her momentum coming together.
She didn’t let Radwanska back into it taking her serve and more that led her to play at 5-2 with the set in reach. The 29-year-old got it together in the eighth earning her first game win since the second game-ending a five-game slide.
A comeback from Radwanska was not on the cards as Maria defended her service game to dictate her way to end the set which took 36 minutes. Maria’s first serve was in fine form scoring 82 percent from it and 72 percent from the net indicating the beating it took to Radwanska’s return of points which was successful 42 percent of the time.
With the need for a major improvement in scoring more points, she made sure to get on the board first before fighting a break away from the German. Maria did a lot of work to force deuce and find her moment to take control back.
After a couple of breaks, she did just that to make sure she stayed on a level footing with Radwanska. They were even through four before Maria got the lead back in the fifth which afterward saw Radwanska call for the trainer.
Due to the excess of heat, the physio gave her a packet of salt and checked her pulse and blood pressure. When she was clear by the court doctor, she leveled the score at three all but was soon trailing Maria again.
The German put the pedal to the metal and conducted her way to finishing the set on her terms. A final service game for Maria in the tenth resulted in her victorious first round over Radwanska that took 1 hour and 26 minutes to accomplish.
With a new chapter being written for the 31-year-old she’ll try to add another when she faces Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina on Wednesday.
Published 28 Aug 2018, 07:18 IST