World number two Agnieszka Radwanska kicked off her 2016 French Open campaign in fine style on a chilly Monday evening in the French capital, utilizing her variety to dispatch Bojana Jovanovski, 6-0, 6-2 in an hour and three minutes. Radwanska, however, will undoubtedly need to raise her level when she takes on home favourite Caroline Garcia, who is currently on a six-match winning streak after claiming her second career WTA singles title last week in Strasbourg.
Radwanska Races Through Opener
Straight away, it was clear that Radwanska would be looking to utilize her variety to the best of her abilities in an attempt to not let Jovanovski find any kind of rhythm on the substantially slower European red clay. Because of this, it came as no surprise that the Pole drew first blood; a stunning forehand drop shot earning her the break right out of the gates.
From there, Radwanska was able to capitalize on a series of unforced errors from Jovanovski, an indicative sign that the Serb had yet to find her range, en route to consolidating the early break. As hard as she tried, Jovanovski's ground strokes were unable to penetrate through the court due to the characteristic low temperatures, which gave Radwanska even more chances to strategically construct her points. As a result, the world number two wasted no time in grabbing a second break to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
In a tense fourth game, Jovanovski was beginning to make inroads into the Radwanska serve, even outsmarting the Pole with some deft touch, but failed to take her chances when it really mattered. In the end, a great deal of consistency paired with some brilliant defence was ultimately enough for Radwanska to consolidate the double break, further proving she was in full control of this first-round encounter. And within a matter of minutes, it was just a matter of time until the second seed wrapped up the opening set 6-0 with some incredibly tactically astute exchanges that showcased her all-court game.
Radwanska's Consistency Ultimately Too Much for an Erratic Jovanovski
Carrying the momentum she had enjoyed in the first set into the opening stages of the second, the Pole continued to impress in all departments. In a repeat of the opening frame, Radwanska broke straight off the bat before consolidating the break in fine style. Fortunately for Jovanovski, she was able to stop the rot of eight games against her by getting on the board, by virtue of some wondrous hitting.
But unfazed by the potential shift in momentum, Radwanska righted the ship with a hold of her own to go a set and 3-1 to the good. And soon enough, a series of unforced error from the Serb gave the Pole three chances to further extend that lead. In the end, it was a case of third time lucky for the second seed as some solid defence capped off with a wrong-footing backhand down the line earned herself the double break.
Sensing the end was nigh, Jovanovski made a desperate last push to get herself back into the match with some great hitting, but Radwanska was not to be denied as the Pole held to take a 5-1 lead, saving another break point in the process. Serving to stay in the match, Jovanovski held her own; a series of winners helping her score another game on the scoreboard. But ultimately, all the 24-year-old's efforts were in vain, as Radwanska proved to be too strong, holding comfortably to seal the 6-0, 6-2 victory in 63 minutes.
Post-Match Thoughts from Radwanska
"It was cold and windy," Radwanska said in her post-match press conference, describing the slower conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier. "That's why it was a little bit slow and the ball is not going anywhere."
"I think we all kind of used to that after couple of days here. The conditions are same for both of us."
Radwanska will now meet the always dangerous Caroline Garcia, who triumphed in straight sets against Lesia Tsurenko moments before the Pole wrapped up proceedings against Jovanovski. The pair have met three times in the past, with Radwanska holding a slender 2-1 lead. With that being said, all three of their prior meetings have gone the distance, and have ended as close as in a third-set tiebreaker.
"That's for sure going to be different match," Radwanska said on the topic of her next match with Garcia. "I guess she's on fire winning last week. She's a good hitter and we had couple of good matches, long ones."
"So, well, just looking forward. Going to be a good match, especially here where she's playing at home. I think I'm getting better. Of course I was doing everything in those last couple of weeks to move better. I think that's the key on clay."