Radwanska sets up Lisicki clash
Originally published on: 02/07/13 00:00
The two highest seeds left planted in the draw after Serena Williams crashed out yesterday faced off in the first of the women’s quarter-finals on Centre Court on Tuesday.
The last time Li and Radwanska met was in the last eight at this year’s Australian Open when Li triumphed in straight sets and although the Chinese No.1 led the head-to-head 6-4 before today’s match the Pole had triumphed in two of their three meetings on grass.
The contrast of styles was evident from the start as Li looked to dictate the play with both power and control while Radwanska moved around the grass like only she knows how, absorbing her opponent’s power and shifting the ball back to a different corner of the court each time.
The pair exchanged breaks of serve in the opening two games before settling into a rhythm on serve. It was Li who got her nose in front first when she broke for 5-4. The former French Open champion had the No.4 seed moving from side-to-side, successfully pulling the trigger with her forehand when the opportunity presented itself. But Li was unable to consolidate the break after failing to convert on four set points due to a combination of smart play from her opponent and an out call on an ace – which appeared to be in – that Li failed to challenge.
Radwanska made the world No.6 pay for not taking her chances and last year’s beaten finalist clinched the first set in a tiebreak (7-5) when Li netted a backhand after a long rally.
A 15-minute rain delay at the beginning to the second did nothing to halt the Pole’s momentum as she broke to ease ahead 3-1 before Li broke back at 4-2 with a swinging forehand volley and broke again at 5-4 with a backhand winner to level things at one set apiece.
Radwanska started the third set in similar fashion to the second, breaking early to lead 2-0 before the rain came down once more and the roof was forced to close. When the players returned to court Radwanska jumped into a 5-2 lead before finally clinching the match on her eighth match point.
Over on No.1 Court Sabine Lisicki didn’t suffer from any Stakhovsky-style post-upset hangover as she dispatched of Laura Robson’s conqueror Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-3 in 65 minutes.