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Agnieszka Radwanska makes herself at home on the grass

by Vivienne Christie
Wednesday 25 June 2014

Agnieszka Radwanska moves into the third round of The Championships with a 6-4, 6-0 win over Casey Dellacqua. It was her 30th match win at Wimbledon.

Centre Court at the All England Club evokes many emotional memories for Radwanska. The setting for her most triumphant performance when she became the first Polish player of the Open era to reach a Grand Slam final in 2012, it was also the venue for one of her most bittersweet career matches when Sabine Lisicki claimed last year’s superb semi-final 9-7 in the third set.

There would be no such emotional extremes for Radwanska today but rather a pleasing sense of accomplishment as she completed a 6-4, 6-0 win over Casey Dellacqua. “It’s always great to be out there, especially here what I really have the best memories on the Grand Slam,” she later related. “I was really looking forward to being in the Centre Court again.”

Although perhaps not spending too much time there. Competing with brutal efficiency, Radwanska took just 56 minutes to progress, her 'get the job done' approach soon evident in the round two encounter. Early in the third game of the first set, she slipped on the baseline only to calmly pick herself up and return the next ball for a winner, perhaps symbolising her approach to the Grand Slam that has provided the best results of her near 10-year career.  

That early fall wasn’t the only lapse Radwanska would have to navigate against Dellacqua, who has risen from outside the top 200 last September to world No. 36 in the latest WTA rankings. The 29-year-old Australian showed the spirit that has driven her career comeback when she was down two service breaks in the first set, winning four consecutive games to force Radwanska to fight for another break of serve to close out the set.

But navigating that challenge simply freed the crafty Radwanska up to play her best tennis in the second set. The errors (she had eight in total compared to Dellacqua’s 22) became less noticeable and the winners (19 for the match) more entertaining, with the only disappointment for the enraptured crowd the fact that it was over in 22 minutes.

“Of course that means a lot to me that the people likes my tennis and they really like to watch my game,” Radwanska said. “Comments like I made tennis entertaining and they really love watching, it’s the best I could hear.”

It seems likely that Radwanska will have more opportunities to entertain those fans at the All England Club yet. In nine main draw appearances at Wimbledon, she has claimed an admirable 30 main draw matches, progressing to the quarter-finals or better four times.

But her affinity with the grass court Grand Slam in fact began in 2005, when Radwanska defeated Tamira Paszek to win the Wimbledon girls’ singles title. “I just love the surface,” she said. “Grass is really the surface that I liked from the beginning.”

There is just one thing that Radwanska would change about the grass court season, and that’s to make it longer. “But you know, that’s why I really wanted to do good here,” surmised the world No. 4, who will aim to extend her outing on her favourite Grand Slam surface when she meets either Michelle Larcher de Brito or Jarmila Gajdosova in the third round.

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