Connecticut Open New Haven 2017 Semifinal Preview: Agnieszka Radwanska vs Daria Gavrilova

Daria Gavrilova is still in the hunt for a first ever WTA title – can she achieve that in New Haven? She first has to get past defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska who seems to be finding some form heading into the final Slam of the year at NYC.

[1] Agnieszka Radwanska (No.10)

Route to this stage

R1: BYE

R2: d. [WC] Eugenie Bouchard, 6-3 7-5

QF: d. [8] Peng Shuai, 7-5 6-3

It has been arguably one of the worst seasons of Agnieszka Radwanska’s career this year. Winning three titles last year including a very solid and spectacular end to 2016 in Asia, some thought Radwanska could win a maiden Grand Slam title this year. However, it has not been the case so far and she has plunged all the way to No.10 in the rankings. Her 150-week streak in the Top 10 could end if she fails to win the title this week. Radwanska though seems to be turning the tide around in New Haven. It was again one of those unspectacular wins against Eugenie Bouchard, but showed glimpses of form in her quarterfinal match against Peng Shuai. Radwanska’s forehand was the best I had seen all year and her volley skills at the net were great to watch. She still wasn’t at her best yet but Vintage Aga seems to have returned a little and I hope the Pole’s form will continue to improve.

Daria Gavrilova (No.26)

Route to this stage

R1: d. [Q] Kristyna Pliskova, 7-5 4-6 7-5

R2: d. Timea Babos, 7-5 7-6(6)

QF: d. [Q] Kirsten Flipkens, 6-2 6-4

Daria Gavrilova has had a decent but unspectacular season in 2017. The World No.26 is still looking for her first WTA title, losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in Moscow in 2016 and falling to Stosur in France.  However without a title the Australian has still amassed a nice 26-18 record for the season, reaching the fourth round in the Australian Open, quarterfinals in Rome and the final of Strasbourg, losing to Samantha Stosur. Her decent form has continued on to New Haven where she beat three unseeded but very talented and powerful players in Kristyna Pliskova, Timea Babos and Kirsten Flipkens. Her fighting spirit was the factor that helped her past the first two rounds and she produced the most convincing performance against Flipkens, dictating play with her forehand and pouncing on the relatively weaker backhand of the Belgian.

Head to head: Surprisingly, this is the first time the two have faced off! Aga talked about it in her interview below.

Stat: Even though Gavrilova has put together a solid year, she has only reached two semifinals (inclusive of this) this year. Same for Radwanska whose previous semifinal this year was back in January at Sydney.

Thoughts: Gavrilova actually has a really impressive record against Top 10 players, amassing a 8-18 record inclusive of wins over Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber. It must be said that she is on a five-match losing streak against Top 10ners now though. This is not a good match-up for the Australian and she must try to dictate points by running around to hit a forehand and flummox Radwanska with loads of variety. For Radwanska, she needs to come to the net and cut away the angles – and that’s what she always does very well. I think the Pole will own this match-up and head into the final with loads of confidence.

Please follow my New Haven predictions here and my Twitter account here 🙂 Thank you for reading!

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