WTA Finals: Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska moves on to the semifinals

In a must-win match to qualify for the last semifinal spot, it was the Pole who stepped up sealing a straight-sets victory over Karolina Pliskova.

WTA Finals: Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska moves on to the semifinals
Radwanska marches on to the semifinals | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Agnieszka Radwanska
2 0
Karolina Pliskova

Last year’s champion Agnieszka Radwanska took to the court to fight for a semifinal spot against Karolina Pliskova. The Czech had quite a battle on hand having yet to beat the Pole on six previous occasions and was 0-12 in terms of sets won. For Radwanska, a win would put her one step closer to defending her title.

In an edgy first set, it was the Pole who got better as the set went on to take a one-set lead. Pliskova tried to fight back in the second set but she seemed to fizzle out in the closing stages as Radwanska went on to seal a 7-5, 6-3 victory. The second seed sets up a showdown with world number on Angelique Kerber.

Pliskova loses the lead and falters allowing Radwanska to grab the first set

Radwanska had a shaky start presenting Pliskova with a chance to get an early break in the opening game. The Czech came forward to set up break point with a delightful touch. However, she failed to convert and the Pole went on to seal the game with an ace.

The next three games were a different story with some solid serving from both players giving them love holds for 2-2. The fifth game though boded trouble for Radwanska with Pliskova piling on the pressure. The Czech was rushing the Pole causing her to net her shot into the net for break point at 30-40. Pliskova’s short ball, however, was well dealt with Radwanska who momentarily survived. The Czech had another opportunity and this time she didn’t have to do much as the Pole sent a double fault to surrender the break to Pliskova.

Pliskova takes the lead in the first set | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Pliskova takes the lead in the first set | Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Czech was barely troubled even with Radwanska trying to work her magic at the net and was able to consolidate the break with ease for a 4-2 lead. Pliskova almost got the double break as Radwanska was under pressure again. This time though the Pole remained calm and came up with some good serves to dig her way out of trouble and hold for 3-4.

Pliskova who was having a great game thus far started having trouble hitting some tight forehands in the eighth game handing Radwanska a chance to get back on serve. And the Pole does just that hammering a return winner off the Czech’s serve to draw level for 4-4. The second seed resumes the lead for 5-4. Pliskova’s first serve was beginning to drop but she hung on to tie it for 5-5. Radwanska with some great shot making made it 6-5 to force the Czech to serve to stay in the set. That pressure got to Pliskova who presented triple set points to the Pole who thumped a return winner to wrap up the set 7-5 in style.

Radwanska wraps up the first set in style | Photo: Roslan Rahman/Getty Images
Radwanska wraps up the first set in style | Photo: Roslan Rahman/Getty Images

Pliskova’s Radwanska misery continues

The Czech struggled to hold serve despite outplaying Radwanska with a drop shot of her in the second game. Subsequent errors gifted double break points to the Pole but some great shot-making from Pliskova fended off both points. However, she handed Radwanska another chance after a poor shot into the net and the Pole capitalized with a stunning backhand down the line to seal the break and a 2-0 lead.

Radwanska gets off to a bright start | Photo: Roslan Rahman/Getty Images
Radwanska gets off to a bright start | Photo: Roslan Rahman/Getty Images

Pliskova though was immediately able to put that game behind stepping up with good net play to force Radwanska to make errors. The Czech reaped the reward with a break back and got her serve working to level for 2-2. Pliskova looked to have found her rhythm while Radwanska struggled with first serves again and the Czech went on to win her third game in a row for a 3-2 advantage.

Pliskova fights back | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Pliskova fights back | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Neither player, however, was taking control of the match for long as Pliskova gave away the break this time. She almost found the break once more but Radwanska came up with a gutsy hold to regain the lead for 4-3. That was followed by what was the worst game for the Czech, who hit a failed overhead smash handing the Pole with triple break points in the eighth game. The lack of confidence was on show as Pliskova hit another overhead into the net as Radwanska broke for 5-3. The second seed was as composed as ever finishing the job to seal her spot in the semifinals.