The semifinal of the Sydney International featured yet another blockbuster match between Barbora Strycova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Both players have been on fire throughout the whole week as Strycova defeated quality players in Ekaterina Makarova, Roberta Vinci and Caroline Wozniacki in the rounds before, of which all three players are former top 10 players. In contrast, Radwanska had a much easier path to the semifinals as she just had to defeat Christina McHale and qualifier Duan Yingying in the previous two rounds after receiving a bye. Radwanska leads their one-sided head-to-head record by 6-0, having lost only 2 of 14 sets they played each other in their career.
Strycova was recently able to trouble Radwanska as she managed to extend the match to three sets in their past two meetings but was still unable to get a win. Radwanska enters the match as the heavy favourite for many reasons with one of them definitely being the fatigue being a problem for Strycova having just spent a total of more than four hours on court yesterday after defeating Wozniacki in 3 hours and 34 minutes. The result turned out to be the expected one as the Pole strolled to a victory within 75 minutes after she lost just a total of three games.
Radwanska strolls through the first set
The Pole started the match in the best way possible, as she won eight of the first nine points which got her the early advantage after she broke serve in the opening return game of the match to earn a 2-0 lead at an early stage of the match. Radwanska continued to stroll through the start of the encounter as she consolidated the break of service with a comfortable hold of serve which extended and affirmed her lead in the scoreboard. Strycova’s woes continued as the Pole continued to look in great form after she broke for the second consecutive time to have a 4-0 lead and look to close out the set in comfortable fashion.
However, the Czech finally got onto the scoreboard when she got back one of the breaks to keep herself in the set and lessen the deficit. Despite the momentum on her side after getting a break back, Strycova was once again broken in her service game to allow Radwanska to have the chance to serve for the first set. She did so on her first attempt as she successfully served out the set 6-1, but not without any trouble as she had to come from 0-40 down to do so.
Radwanska closes out the victory
Strycova’s struggles then continued as she was broken immediately in the opening game to gift Radwanska a lead by a set and a break. A comfortable hold of service for Radwanska then followed as she looked to close out the match in straight sets. Unable to earn a game point despite having four deuces in her service game, Strycova soon went down a double break deficit as Radwanska broke for the fifth time in the match to make her place in the final look almost certain. The Czech finally got her long-awaited first hold of serve in the match after yet another tough game which got to deuce and allowed Strycova to get onto the scoreboard in the second set. Radwanska eventually served out the match successfully after just 75 minutes in this one-sided match in which the Pole looked on fire throughout.
Up next for Radwanska
With this win, Radwanska will return to the Sydney final once again after she defeated Dominika Cibulkova with a 'double bagel' scoreline in the 2013 final. She will then face sixth seed Johanna Konta in the final for the title and gain some momentum and confidence entering the Australian Open. It will be a close affair given that both players have been on their top form this whole week and have been playing their best tennis, especially Konta who managed to power through a couple of tough opponents.