Tennis: Radwanska floats into second round

By Michael Brown

Agnieszka Radwanska in action against Greta Arn during the ASB Classic. Photo / Dean Purcell
Agnieszka Radwanska in action against Greta Arn during the ASB Classic. Photo / Dean Purcell

Standing at just 1.72m and weighing 56kg, Agnieszka Radwanska is one of the smallest players on the women's tennis tour and plays a game to match.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a butterfly, some might say, after witnessing her carefully-placed, lightly-hit winners.

But the world No 4 and ASB Classic top seed comes with a big reputation and, on the evidence of today, is the player to beat this week.

The Pole easily dispatched 2011 champion Greta Arn, who won passage to the main draw as a lucky loser, 6-2 6-2 as she unloaded some of the weapons in her arsenal.

They included guile, deft touches, an unorthodox off-forehand and an imitation of a brick wall as she gets every ball back and works her opponent around the court.

It made for some long rallies as she slugged it out with Arn on centre court at Stanley St but long rallies is what Radwanska specialises in as she frustrates rather than devastates.

"I think this is my style," she said. "To be honest, I don't really work on that, I was just born to play like that. With my body, I can't serve 200km/h so I think I have to mix up everything and try to do something else, not just powerful shots.

"I really felt good on court but there were a lot of tight, long games. The score looks easy but the match was not that easy. I had to fight for every ball to the end of the match."

Radwanska's side of the draw has opened up with the surprise defeats of defending champion and fourth seed Zheng Jie and fifth seed Sorana Cirstea. She takes on Romania's Simona Halep in tomorrow's second round, an opponent she has beaten on both occasions they have met.

Cirstea withdrew from her first-round match with Heather Watson today with a viral illness after losing the first set 6-3.

It meant three of the tournament's eight seeds had already departed, but Yaroslava Shvedova (6) and Mona Barthel (8) both won their matches comfortably later in the day. Second seed Julia Goerges is due on court tonight.

They will all be weary of Radwanska, however.

"I came here to win," Radwanska said. "Everything is good so far. Why not take this trophy?"

- APNZ

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