Agnieska Radwanska fought back from a rough start to come back and dominate in her opening round at the Porsche Grand Prix Thursday night. The World No. 2 defeated a hard challenge from Germany’s Andrea Petkovic 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Centre Court at Stuttgart Porsche Arena.
The two stars haven’t been in competition in over four years. Since then, the Pole has been most dominant winning all six of their previous meetings. The number two ranked Radwanska has already won a WTA title this season and would try to get another in her opening round at the famous WTA premier event. Despite having troubles competing in some of the recent tournaments, the new surface could be a good change for her. With German players having the home advantage, Petkovic hoped that she’ll keep the winning streak alive after her strong straight set win against Kristina Mladenovic.
She came out in the set blasting shots well against Radwanska using her clever skills to hold the number two ranked Pole to just a point in the first game. Petkovic dug in early when on the return answering the service of Radwanska by playing against her opponent’s strengths. It became a fight for the Pole through five breaks of serve where the German took the victory gaining an early lead.
Radwanska showed signs of fighting for control as it was clear that the German had all the right things going for her especially during critical moments. Before she captured a third straight, Petkovic made the fight on deuce look too easy locking down the advantage after a brief break taking a commanding lead. On Radwanska’s second attempt on serve, she looked to be back in control as she laid out four straight points to end her opponent’s winning streak and get into contention.
It turned out to be a short spell for the world No. 2 as she once again fell to Petkovic who landed two great drop shots on serve to take a 4-1 hold. A double break in the fifth put Radwanska in a dangerous situation for the set as Petkovic had all the luck of being in her home country and serving for the set. She had to play tough with Radwanska trying everything to extend the set but in the end it was too much to overcome surrendering in 41 minutes to start from scratch in the second. Petkovic had had 69 percent service landing 16 of 24 and 6 of 11 on the second. The key to Radwanska’s struggles was her second service as she managed just one out of ten shots.
She got the set going with a hold of serve against Petkovic making a statement of her need for improvement. It grew into a three game winning streak that was successful since her coaching pep talk by Tomasz Wiktorowski. When the fourth game commenced, Radwanska was on return looking to keep her streak vital. During a return on the rally, Petkovic slid after the ball before she lost friction and twisted her leg before falling to the ground. After getting checked out by the trainer, the German came out showing pain in her leg and a loss of trust with running on the clay surface.
It left the door open for Radwanska to dictate the rest of the set while Petkovic felt out whether she could continue on. After five game elapsed and Radwanska still flawless in the set, Petkovic took another medical timeout to have her back checked out. When play resumed, the German collected a win for herself in the sixth but it was too little too late. Radwanska stayed calm and collected to lock down the set in 35 minutes and push a deciding third set. The Pole maintained her serve in the low 60s but her improvement on the second serve had her back in fine form landing seven of nine and and 16 of 23 on the returns.
With things becoming a race to the finish in the third, the two got into a tug of war over control with Radwanska taking a two game push. Petkovic was still struggling to get back into form but broke the Pole’s streak and won the third. A big move in the fourth produced the first triple break for the German leveling the score. Radwanska got out of the small problem and swept the next two games to get a comfortable lead.
The seventh was a huge moment for her to stay ahead on the break. She got the victory on a double fault from Petkovic who fell apart at the worse time setting the world number two on serve for the match. The German was on the edge of defeat but gave it her all forcing deuce, but it all came to an end on Radwanska’s match point where she switched the rally to an angled fight until Petkovic’s return fell wide ending concluding the 1 hour and 54 minute match.
With her ability to survive the force of Petkovic, Radwanska will await her third round match that could be against Ana Ivanovic or Karolina Pliskova