Victoria Azarenka d. Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka hits the ball hard. Agnieszka Radwanska does not.
On the most recent Changeover podcast, I picked Azarenka to win Doha. This wasn’t based off of her current form. It wasn’t even based on the fact that she was the top seed. It was based entirely off of the chance of her draw. A quick glance revealed that there were no players in her entire half that would likely give her any trouble. Barring injury, it would be a major surprise if she didn’t make the final. She’s made the final, and hasn’t had an opponent take more than 3 games off of her in a set.
The fact that Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed, and a player who can roll over lesser players with ease was dismissed by Azarenka speaks volumes to how good Vika is; and where the WTA is currently at.
Power remains the biggest weapon a player in the WTA can have. A combination of movement and consistency is a deadly combo. Mental toughness? Bloody hell. It’s the reason players like Sorana Cirstea and Ana Ivanovic can be so frustrating – the power is there, the consistency is not. It’s also the reason I’ve backed players like Sloane Stephens and Laura Robson. Once the ranking becomes respectable, these type of players can simply hit through smaller players to roll on through early rounds.
Aga sure didn’t play well, but she never looked like giving a damn, either. Azarenka is simply killing her prey before they get on court and then ripping the meat off over the following 80 minutes. That’s not to say that Serena and Maria won’t have something to say about it, but it’s difficult not to back Azarenka, particularly with the great draws she is bound to get.