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Wimbledon 2018: Safarova halts Radwanska comeback in straight sets

Rudy Martinez
ANALYST
Feature
376   //    04 Jul 2018, 22:51 IST

Day Three: The Championships - Wimbledon 2018

Agnieszka Radwanska saw her grass court season come to a close at the championships Wimbledon on Wednesday. A serious fight from Lucie Safarova allowed her to edge the Pole in the opening set before fighting for her success that finished in a 7-5, 6-4 win on Court Two at the All England Club. At a point where she was racking up unforced errors at the wrong moment got it turned around to move on to the round of 32.

The two met for the seventh time but it was a first in seven years. The lead sat heavily in Safarova’s favor but the time since facing one another would either stay the same or give Radwanska a chance at turning the tide.

She had to go the distance against Elena Ruse Monday hoping to avoid another long day on the grass. Safarova took care of business against Katerina Bondarenko holding off the Ukrainian in straight sets. With her grass court season revving back up, the 31-year-old would look to put the brakes on the seeded Polish star.

No sign of that took place in the first set as Radwanska held serve with Safarova needing to match her through six games. Both players fought every point but maintained their stance to avoid dropping service games to one another.

When it came to the end of the set, Radwanska was the first to set up for a shot at the set. Safarova gave her a small amount of room in the tenth with a solid crosscourt return. She thought she had Safarova on the ropes in the next rally but a return lob fell long of the baseline saving the Czech to deuce.

A long ball from Safarova handed Radwanska a second chance but fell long again making it three straight errors for game point. With possession back in the hands of the Czech after an ace, she delivered a five all score landing a line drive winner far out of Radwanska’s reach. With her ability to stay in tow with the seeded Pole, Safarova found her chance to go for the break.

Despite playing a short deuce draw, the 31-year-old got the 6-5 lead with Radwanska left with little options for her. She instead watched as Safarova swept her in the 12th getting the set secured after 57 minutes.

She continued her march in the second set gaining a three-game winning streak, breaking the serve of Radwanska. She kept it alive with a hold before going 5-0 with a triple break in the third.

The momentum was running one way for Safarova as she had both sides of her game devastating Radwanska with big forehand hits that in the end gave her points in consecutive runs. It was soon 4-0 for the unseeded competitor who had Radwanska in trouble of getting bageled for the first time this season.

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It was set aside by the 29-year-old achieving her first serve to love in the match ending Safarova’s dominance at six games. The attempt to gain back lost ground proved difficult for the 32nd seed as she failed to get a break handing the Czech a 5-1 hold. Radwanska denied her the pleasure of ending the match on her serve and blasted away at her opponent to gain a second win but still on the edge of elimination.

She battled in the eighth against Safarova’s focused attention in the rallies before an error by the Czech made it possible for a break. She achieved a third straight as it was becoming a reminder of her first match and the power she had to come back from the entire deficit. Safarova saw what occurred on court and tried to put the brakes on in the ninth but failed as Radwanska kept creeping closer to level the set.

The tenth was a nerve-wracking point for Safarova as the unforced errors that continued to come from her game made serving for the match so difficult. She blew it on match point but stayed in to avoid giving her opponent an easy way to win the advantage point.

Safarova saved six of them showing her urge to end her difficulties on court. After eight breaks, the Czech finally made her dream come true of concluding a difficult journey in the third round after 1 hour and 41 minutes.

With her first advancement to the third round since 2016, the 31-year-old would hope for a better outcome facing the winner between Caroline Wozniacki and Ekaterina Makarova on Friday. 

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