Match Preview Radwanska Vs Kuznetsova 10.07 Wimbledon 2017
Wimbledon, London, UK, Grass Courts, WTA
Today sees the second week begin at Wimbledon, on a day that is commonly known as ‘Manic Monday’. We are going to kick-off the week by looking at the Fourth Round tie between Polish world number 10, Agnieszka Radwanska (again!) and Russian world number 8, Svetlana Kuznetsova.
These two are no strangers to one another, with their rivalry spanning all the way back to 2007. In all they’ve played sixteen times against one another, with Kuznetsova winning twelve of these.
They have met twice on grass and twice in fact at Wimbledon, Radwanska won in straight sets back in 2007 and then again, this time in three sets in 2008.
Wimbledon Results So Far…..
Radwanska hammered Jelena Jankovic in Round 1, 7-6 6-0, before saving two match points on route to battling past Christina McHale in Round 2, 5-7 7-6 6-3. The Pole then beat Timea Bacsinszky in the Third Round, 3-6 6-4 6-1, in a match i’m sure she would have lost if Bacsinszky hadn’t have picked up a thigh injury.
Kuznetsova defeated Ons Jabeur in Round 1, 6-3 6-2 in just over an hour, before dispatching Ekatarina Makarova, 6-0 7-5 in a similar time. It was another straight sets win for the Russian in the last Round, as she brushed aside Polona Hercog, 6-4 6-0, after a competitive first set Kuznetsova just hit Hercog off the court with a string of huge winners.
I’ve not been at all convinced by Radwanska all fortnight, although she did show glimpses of her old form against Bacsinszky. Kuznetsova has been in imperious form however, she’s yet to drop a set and has dished out two bagels in her last two matches.
Radwanska’s mean serving stats for this fortnight so far look like this; she’s won 63% of her service points and held serve 80% of the time.
Kuznetsova’s mean serving stats for this fortnight so far look like this; she’s won 66% of her service points and held serve 92% of the time.
Radwanska’s serve is functional, the grass certainly helps her get a little bit of extra pace on it, but generally speaking I think it’s exploitable, especially if her first serve % is not high, I once again don’t expect her to hold serve with ease today.
Kuznetsova has a solid serve, she will win more free points off her first serve, and her second serve is far less exploitable than Radwanska’s. In fact her second serve win % for the tournament so far is 62%, compared to the Pole’s 49%.
Radwanska’s mean returning stats for this fortnight look like this, she’s won 43% of his return points, 32% of her break points and opponents have held 70% of the time against her.
Kuznetsova’s mean returning stats for this fortnight look like this, she’s won 50% of his return points, 50% of her break points and opponents have held 48% of the time against her.
Radwanska will take full swings off the return most of the time, however she can at times block the ball back off the forehand side. She doesn’t really have the firepower to be particularly aggressive off the return though, and with Kuznetsova’s high second serve win %, I can see the Pole struggling to get traction regularly in the Russian’s service games.
Kuznetsova however will attack Radwanska’s first and second serves aggressively, especially as neither are hit with much power. I expect to see the Russian break multiple times in each set and with relative ease.
Radwanska is solid off both wings, personally i think her double-handed backhand is her most reliable side, however she has struggled for a long time now to get enough depth on her groundies, and anything left short today will be punished by Kuznetsova. Radwanska’s dropshots against Bacsinszky were very effective though, as we thought they would be, she could do worse than employing a similar tactic re these today. She will defend for her life and get plenty of balls back into play, she is however far less comfortable attacking and generating her own pace, something which i think she’ll need to do in order to stand a chance here today.
Kuznetsova will be very aggressive off both sides right from the off, especially as she will have more time on the ball than she is usually afforded, due to the lack of pace on Radwanska’s shots. She will stand right on the baseline and look to dictate and hit winners, especially with her big forehand. The Russian tends to struggle against players that take the game to her and and take time away from her, Radwanska is the polar opposite to this, so i think it’s the perfect matchup for her.
For the same reasons as i thought Bacsinszky would beat Radwanska (which i still firmly believe she would have done without her injury), i’m confident that Kuznetsova will win today. Her heavily favoured head to head record just goes to show how bad-a match up this is for Radwanska. I expect Kuznetsova to be dictating and hitting winners off the return of serve and off the ground right from the word go, and i just can’t see how Radwanska can defend her way to a victory here.
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