WTA Stuttgart: Agnieszka Radwanska books last place in semifinals with straight sets win over Karolina Pliskova
Agnieszka Radwanska celebrating a point against Karolina Pliskova | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts

Agnieszka Radwanska hadn't lost a set against her opponent in five previous meetings, and it didn't look likely for her to give up that perfect record here. The two stepped onto the Porsche-Arena headlining the night session, as this was the last quarterfinal of the day. This match would feature the world number 2, Agnieszka Radwanska, up against the world number 18, Karolina Pliskova, for a spot in the semifinals. Despite the Czech's trademark powerful serves and groundstrokes, Radwanska would claim victory with her usual smart play in just under two hours.

Radwanska Quickly Takes The First Set

The Pole started out in quick fashion as multiple errors from Pliskova would gift Radwanska her opening service game. A marathon game followed on Pliskova's serve in which both players had their chances. But it was Radwanska who broke Pliskova on the fourth time of asking, her experience showing already in the match against the youngster with a forehand drop shot to win the game. Powerful returns and two back-to-back forehand winners from Pliskova would help her break the Pole straight back, and to get back on serve at 2-1 in Radwanska's favor. The Czech started out her service game positively with an ace. But a double fault on the next point helped Radwanska stay in the game. Multiple errors into the net from the Czech would help Radwanska break straight back for a 3-1 lead. Great defense from the Pole helped her consolidate the break and add another game to her total of four games to one.

Agnieszka Radwanska hitting a forehand against Pliskova | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts
Agnieszka Radwanska hitting a forehand against Pliskova | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts

Both players then each held their serves to make it to 5-2 in favor of the Pole. Pliskova was then serving to stay in the set, but she missed almost all of her first serves and double faulted three times in that game to hand Radwanska the first set 6-2.

Pliskova's Level Rises But Radwanska Too Solid

After losing the first set in just half an hour, the Czech made a booming start to the second set as she broke Radwanska right away at the start of the second set. Radwanska, though, was looking to take the break advantage right back, coming from 0-30 down to win four straight points and break the Czech to make it 1-1. Both ladies each then held their serves easily to make it 2-2. Pliskova's powerful returns started to hit spot-on, and with a her flat, powerful returns she found herself another break point of this set. An angled forehand slice winner from the Czech would get her the break and the lead, 3-2.

Karolina Pliskova serving against Radwanska | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts
Karolina Pliskova serving against Radwanska | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts

A marathon service game on the Czech's serve would propose opportunities to both players, but in the end it was Pliskova's first serve that would get her out of that game and to consolidate the break, and Pliskova got a 4-2 lead. Despite being down a break, Radwanska played her best tennis to keep the straight sets win alive. Up 4-3, Pliskova had trouble holding as Radwanska was hitting some of her best returns of the match. A forehand that sailed long gave Radwanska the break back, tying the score up at 4-4 at the one hour and 10 minute mark. Despite only making one first serve, multiple unforced errors from the return of Pliskova would give Radwanska the game, and put her one game away from the semifinals.

Radwanska hitting a running backhand | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts
Radwanska hitting a running backhand | Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts

Pliskova wouldn't just give it to the Pole, as she hit a couple of huge first serves to win the game and tie the score at 5-5. A 15-minute rollercoaster game would follow, Radwanska saving seven break points and Pliskova saving multiple game points until the Polish tennis star finally won the marathon game with a net cord that fell too short for the Czech to get as Radwanska took the lead at 6-5. Pliskova again regrouped, though, and a couple of forehand and backhand winners would send the set to a tiebreaker. Both players played some of their best tennis in the tiebreaker, each not letting the other take control of it.

It would be Radwanska, though, with the first match point at 6-5 up. An amazing running forehand winner from the Czech would save the match point with a flourish. But at 6-6, Pliskova had a chance to win the point with a swinging volley, but she hit it right to Radwanska, who put the ball away. Pliskova would save a couple of match points after that as well, but she was just delaying the inevitable. At 9-8, the match would finally go to Radwanska as a forehand sailed into the net from Pliskova, giving Radwanska her sixth win against her opposition.

Match Statistics

Radwanska hit three aces, and four double faults. Pliskova hit eight aces, while hitting six double faults. Radwanska made 66 percent of her first serves in, while Pliskova only made 60 percent of her's in. Radwanska also won 54 percent of her second serve points, which clearly made the difference, as the Czech only won 28 percent of her second serve points.

What's Next?

Awaiting Radwanska in the final four is German qualifier Laura Siegemund, who extended her own streak of upsets to beat the sixth seed Roberta Vinci 6-1, 6-4 and reach her first WTA Premier-level semifinals. The qualifier also defeated fourth seed Simona Halep 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday.