WTA Tianjin: Radwanska withdraws after reaching the quarterfinals

The number one seed’s withdrawal from the tournament gives her next opponent Peng Shuai direct access to the semifinals. Monica Puig and Alison Riske are also through the quarterfinals.

WTA Tianjin: Radwanska withdraws after reaching the quarterfinals
Agnieszka Radwanska in action during last year's final at Tianjin Open [Photo credit: AFP/STR/Getty Images]

All the quarterfinal matches have been set at 2016 Tianjin Open, with the surprising withdrawal of defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska after a neat victory in her second round match. Monica Puig and Alison Riske became the last two players to reach the quarterfinals.

Radwanska dominates Rodina then withdraws, Peng advances to the semifinals

After dominating her debut match against Tatjana Maria, Radwanska offered the same performance during her match against Evgeniya Rodina, letting the Russian win only two games before seeing her off in an hour and five minutes. The Pole started solid, breaking her opponent’s serve for a 3-0 lead; another crucial break and two solid games on serve, in which she didn’t drop a single point, quickly granted her the first set. The second set followed a similar pattern; again 0-3 down, Rodina gained a break point in the following game, but couldn’t convert it. She then lost her serve once again in the last game, with Radwanska converting her third match point to win the match with a double 6-1.

Despite the comfortable win, the world number three announced her withdrawal from the tournament, citing a right thigh injury. The Pole explained that she wants to give herself the time to fully recover before the WTA Finals in Singapore, that will take place at the end of October and in which Radwanska, already qualified, will need to defend her title from last year.

"It's the end of the season," Radwanska said. "I guess everyone is struggling with something."

"I'm very sorry I had to withdraw," she added. "I just hope I can see my fans next year. It was a pleasure to come here again."

Radwanska’s withdrawal has granted wild card Peng Shuai direct access to the semifinals. The Chinese player had already benefitted from the withdrawal of countrywoman Zhang Shuai in the first round, and had then won the access to the quarterfinals with her straight-set victory against qualifier Chang Kai-Chen. Peng got rid of the Taiwanese after another hard-hitting contest, which ended with a final score of 6-3, 6-2 for the Chinese.

Peng Shuai competing at the 2014 edition of the Tianjin Open [Photo credit: VCG/Getty Images        

Puig and Riske advance to the quarterfinals with straight set wins

Monica Puig and Alison Riske completed the quarterfinals draw with their wins against Lara Arruabarrena and Magda Linette respectively.

For the fifth seed Puig, it has been a close battle since the beginning against the Spaniard. During the first set she needed to rally back from 1-3 down, and then she suffered a crucial break while she was serving for the set. She needed to break her opponent’s serve one last time to eventually book the first set. More confident during the second set, the Puerto Rican quickly consolidated a 5-1 advantage, but once again she lost the game while serving for the match. She only needed another break, however, to eventually close the set and the match with a final 6-4, 6-2 scoreline.

Alison Riske also needed to fight for two close sets before defeating Magda Linette. After winning the first set with a 6-3 score, the American lost an important game while serving for the match from 5-3 up in the second set, leading the match into a tie-break. She didn’t give any more chances to her opponent, winning the breaker 7 points to 2 and reaching her sixth WTA quarterfinal of the year.

Alison Riske competing during the 2014 edition of the tournament [Photo credit: VCG/Getty Images]    

The quarterfinal field is set

Aside from Peng, who is already waiting in the semifinals, the other players will fight for a place into the last four during Friday's action. Fifth seed Monica Puig will start first on Centre Court, taking on last year’s finalist Danka Kovinic. After their match, Alison Riske will face Han XinYun. Last on Centre Court, second seed Svetlana Kuznetsova will need to fight her way past Naomi Osaka.