WTA Indian Wells: Agnieszka Radwanska Too Solid For Petra Kvitova

The third seed Agnieszka Radwanska defeated the eighth seed Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open, held on the hard courts at Indian Wells, California.

Kvitova Can't Find The Court

Radwanska proved to be much too solid for her opponent in the first set, hitting a mere four unforced errors in taking it 6-2.  The Pole appeared quite happy to trade with her opponent, putting an extra ball into court by whatever means until Kvitova erred. This enabled the 27-year-old to mount a 5-1 lead, despite a number of close games which saw her have to save multiple break points.

Despite holding serve in the opening game of the match, Kvitova fell behind 1-5 due to a series of unforced errors, particularly off of her forehand wing. The light, desert air seemed to be causing the Czech's shots to fly, perhaps explaining why this was only her second quarterfinal in Indian Wells and why her serve faltered in the sixth game, hitting two consecutive double faults to lose serve. Having battled through her last three matches in three sets, the former world number two appeared to be a step slow at times and hit an outstanding 22 unforced errors in just the eight games played.

Kvitova lunging for a backhand volley. Source: Getty Images/Harry How

Radwanska Battles Back

The second set was completely different, with Kvitova steadying her game and seizing control. The 26-year-old had beaten Radwanska in six of their previous nine meetings and though she'd lost their latest in Singapore last October, she'd come from a set behind there to take it to three sets. Here, the former two time Wimbledon champion tidied up her game and began to bully the points, breaking serve for the first time in the fourth game. Whilst still hitting the ball hard, the world number nine wasn't looking for the winner from the first point anymore and mounted a 5-2 lead.

Unlike in the first set, Radwanska was on the backfoot and unable to venture towards the net. It was here that the world number three decided to really mix things up, using sliced forehands and drop shot/lob combinations to erase the deficit. Looking fresher than her opponent, given that she'd won her past two matches in straight sets, the former Wimbledon finalist kept cool as the set moved into the breaker. Given that she'd saved a match point against Dominika Cibulkova in the second round, Radwanska didn't panic and benefited from a couple of lucky net cords in the tiebreaker en route to sealing it seven points to three.

In the process, Radwanska moved into her third career Indian Wells semifinal and her eighth semifinal in her last nine tournaments played. By virtue of her win, Radwanska will vault ahead of Angelique Kerber into the world number two position.