Saturday, April 23, 2011
The sovereign Queen of Clay, Her Royal Highness, Agnieszka Radwanska.
She seems to think the same too, because so far this year a lightbulb seems to have flicked on. She used to play the role of a counterpuncher who stood far behind the baseline and beat players mostly through consistency. However, nowadays that variety seems to be the rule rather than a ploy to keep her opponents guessing. Against Schiavone she played some brilliant tennis, looking to take the initiative on every ball – whether it be to take it early and be aggressive, to hit a dropshot, to move forward and so on. That coupled with the new-found power on her serve, and this ‘new Agnieska’ really is a joy to watch.
Speaking of her contemporaries, there were mixed results for Wozniacki and Azarenka Wednesday. Top-seeded Wozniacki made light and easy work of Kristina Kucova. Her match made for quite hilarious watching as she toyed with her opponent for most of the match, and by the end she was experimenting with her two-handed dropshots and random forays to the net, with comical results. For Azarenka however, it was the complete opposite. After looking impressive in cleaning up the first set on Goerges, out of the blue she walked up to the net and retired, citing a shoulder injury.
But once again, the Germans ruled the roost in Stuttgart with Andrea Petkovic, Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges and Kristina Barrois all advancing to the quarterfinals, making it the first time since 1994 that four Germans made the quarters here. I had a chance to speak to Goerges after the match and she was understandably excited about her quarterfinal clash against Lisicki; “I think we are German rivals, but not in a bad way. We push each other, and it’s nice having a player from Germany in the semifinals, so we will see tomorrow.”
However, Petkovic once again stole the show in her own press conference. Speaking about her relationships with the top players, she said; “People really think we hate each other, but actually we’re all good friends. And you know what is funny? The top players are friendlier than other players sometimes [..] I cannot think of anyone I don’t get along with.” And then, with a wink and joked “and I’m still not Paris Hilton”.