Archive for the ‘Agi’ Category

16 Feb 2013

Victoria Azarenka Doha 1

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.

6 Jul 2012

I always hated Martina Hingis. As a fan of the women’s game, I didn’t quite understand her. And it bugged me. I was still young (very, very young) and the word “fan” might not properly describe what was my Anna Kournikova love. A small girl, Hingis seemed able to win points she had no business being in, and beating opponents she had no business beating.

Recently, she has said that she much prefers being compared to Radwanska instead of Wozniacki, and I have to agree.

I have written in the past couple of weeks that power is never to be underestimated in women’s tennis. This is still true. Much like big servers tended to be the scissors to the returners rock in men’s 1990s tennis, the power in the women’s game is the rock to the defender’s scissors. It doesn’t matter how sharp you are on the ball, you will eventually be overpowered.

Slowly but surely, Radwanska has been turning heads. Since the beginning of 2011, every major winner has been a big hitter: Serena, Li Na, Kvitova, Stosur, Azarenka, Sharapova. Radwanska has been a constant of the top 10 for some time, and fans have often joked about her as the “ninja”. It’s not hard to get why.

Despite seemingly having no “weapons”, long going without a clothing sponsor and playing a controlled, often emotionless game, she tends not to make a lot of noise in the draw. Yet she always seems to be in the mix, and it wasn’t until this year’s Miami win that she finally looked like a player capable of taking a serious scalp.

To start, Radwanska isn’t a counterpuncher. At least in my eye (there’s no true definition of the word). To me, a counterpuncher is a player who counters power by returning it with interest. They’re someone who can test big hitting players because pace of shot can actually become an asset to them. Think Andy Murray or Zheng Jie for example.

Undoubtedly, Radwanska is what we might think of as a defensive player. She is not a big hitter or a big server and doesn’t win points by overwhelming players. However, this does not mean she is similar to a player like Wozniacki. Aga does push the ball, but sensibly, and is interested in constructing points, where as Wozniacki tends to play things as safe as possible (though, hopefully, signs point towards this changing).

Above all else, Radwanska has absolutely incredible hands. She very rarely makes unforced errors, something common in table tennis players, but not regular tennis players. Of any sex or from any planet.

It’s easy to chuckle at her squatting shots from seemingly centimeters from the earth. I would argue that they are one of her secret weapons. They are made possible by her incredibly strong and flexible legs, but also her hands, as she is able to adjust quickly to ensure the ball makes it over the net. The ability to do this means that she is able to stand in closer to the baseline, and the depth of shot on a fast surface does little to no damage against her. Even if the ball is quick and bounces low on the grass, it can quickly be dug out and neutralized by the SquatShot(TM).

Grass is a fast surface, but also a low bouncing surface, and Aga uses this to her advantage. She keeps shots low, not only with slices and drop shots but regular shots off both wings, and her ability to get balls back is incredible. Lastly, she is able to win long rallies because she is able to make the necessary point winning shot, in the vein of Federer. Wozniacki will often out last players to the point that they make an error or she has a wide open court to hit into. Radwanska is perfectly fine with waiting for a sliver of daylight and pouncing.

Simply put, unless players can hit hard and create their own pace against Radwanska, the options are slim. Radwanska is fine for players to hang in long rallies, in which they will most likely make the first error. She is also fine with them opening up the court, as she can play sublime defense as well as take advantage of steep angles and drag opponents off course when necessary.

What Radwanska will have trouble with, as did Hingis, is a player that can create their own pace of shot and punish the ball from nothing. This means Serena Williams. Regardless, she will return better than Azarenka did and she will think her way through the match. Regardless of what happens on Sunday, Radwanska is a victory for traditional tennis and those who can think their way through matches instead of bash their way to victory.

30 Sep 2010

“I missed you so much.” “I’m so sorry baby, I’m glad I’ve got you back.” “Let’s make out.”

Wait? Aga retired? Down 5-0? Crap. I believe it was because the entertainment level of the match quite literally bored her to tears. But you didn’t hear it from me.

Caro, Vika, Elena and Franny are your semifinalists in Tokyo.

12. Agnieszka Radwanska

Posted by Brodie under: Agi, SW19

20 Jun 2010

Let me start off with the first post by saying that 1) these are seedings based outside of the draw 2) they’re based on who I think has a solid chance of going far in the tournament based on their game 3) they’re intended to start discussion and get you excited! Not to blandly break down their games.

Weapons: Cold blooded, consistent, and a wicked drop shot that will works well on low bouncing grass.
Weaknesses: Zero power is a huge liability on grass, laughable second serve.

While A-Rad’s game seems practically useless on grass (she’s not exactly a power player) she’s managed to play in her typical consistent mold and make the quarterfinals the past two years. Ah, good ole Quarterfinals Agi. That’s where she typically runs into some tough opposition, but hey, you’ve got to like her chances to at least make it there.

Another Magic Day…

Posted by Brodie under: Agi, Madrid

11 May 2010

…in the WTA. Jeez, I should turn that into a rap, shouldn’t I?

Seeds fell today like it was their day job, most of which aren’t horribly surprising… but A-Rad losing to Patty? She clearly looks pretty pissed here, and A-Rad is rarely pissed. Huh.

I actually was predicting Elena to drop early, if not to Dulgheru (who looked great last week) but to Lucie in the next round, who’s been red hot. Mono is Mono. Caro is presumably still hurt, or it’s in her head, because the errors were out of control today. MJMS went down to Sam in straights, though that’s not an upset (but still semi-surprising it wasn’t close) and as already noted, Flavs went down too.

In slightly more uplifting news, Shahar continues to kick ass, knocking out Kleybs in straights. Jebus. Nads, Lucie, and Aravane all kept rolling and Nails toughed out a solid win over Domi, 7-5 in the third. Think of the children, Domi!

24 Mar 2010

Last week Caro and A-Rad both sported matching straightened hair, a decision that was likely co-ordinated… so what were they thinking when they decided to do this to our poor bleeding eyes? I have no idea. I’m no fashion expert, but these were bad enough on their own. We know you’re friends, girls. Bellydancer seducing leopard? Yeah… no.

Hell, the guys were better dressed. Even ANDY MURRAY looks way better. What is wrong with the world?

Victoria’s Secret

Posted by Brodie under: Agi, Dubai, Vika

19 Feb 2010

Well that’s just Vika. After a collapse (in my mind, what SHOULD be a confidence shattering one) to Serena in Melbourne, looking exhausted and injured for Fed Cup, girl has put together a hell of a run to the final. And she’s looked confident doing it. Oh, and she’s beating players that she’s supposed to beat. Hell, it’s early in the season, but I’m impressed, and the on court antics seem to be down (though that might just be because I haven’t seen them, she’s winning, or both.)

Regardless, Vika is confident, striking the ball with authority, and despite A-Rad’s best attempts to push her around the court and try to dictate play, Vika was pouncing on short balls, coming to the net (and looking totally comfortable doing it) and knocks up another straight set win. She’ll face defending champ Venus in the final at 7pm local time (10am EST.)

12 Jan 2010

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What the HELL was that anyway?

Double faulting, firing every other ball long, and looking down right confused, Dina fell down 0-5 to Iron Chef Agi, and it looked like all anyone hoping to see something of a match could hope for was for Dina to get herself together for a second set, and start using her brain. But they don’t call the WTA the WTA for nothing. (Whacked-out Tennis Association?) Dina looked pissed, and she started hammering the ball up the middle. Then side to side. Before you knew it, or she knew it, she was getting winners, looking in control. Then Agi failed to close it out THREE times. All in all, it was 9 games in a row for Dina from 0-5, and eventually she took the match 7-5, 6-4.

Was this match totally WTA? Totally. Was it all because of Dina? You know it. Once she got it together, she showed how she’s not number 2 in the world by accident, and hell, her serve wasn’t even half bad most of the time. Agi really just lacks a weapon, and her sad excuse for a second serve was getting absolutely crushed by Dina at points. Despite Agi’s ranking, it should be an easy win for Dina, with her ability to smack the ball and really dictate against someone who generally relies on pushing and other people’s errors. Sure enough it happened. As for her next trick? Stick around and see, who knows. Positive things to take, crazy DinaKADs, positive.

Year End Dramafest 2009

Posted by Brodie under: Agi, Serena, Venus, Vika, YEC

30 Oct 2009

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You want drama? We’ll give you some fucking drama.

The first match of the day didn’t start things off too surprisingly, Caro dropped to JJ 2 and 2, and after the gimpfest that was her last match, pretty safe to have seen that coming.

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension

A win by Lena would book her into the final semis spot in the Maroon Group… but she instead lost to Kuz, in what was a dead rubber (minus the cash) for her. Sure there’s ending the season on a positive note, but this is ending the season on a win… though not a tournament win. Doha is a magical land my friends.

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And then this crazy shit. Unfortunately for Vika, praying to Sven wouldn’t end up helping. She took the first set pretty convincingly, and ran up to 5-2 in the second set, and it seemed all but over. And then things changed. A-Rad had little trouble holding serve (for the most part) and Vika’s serve absolutely abandoned her, and the Iron Chef was just chasing down every damn ball out there and Vika couldn’t cope. A-Rad busted the thing out 7-5 and onto a third we went.

After a change of clothes, Vika returned kind of teary eyed, and Rad Big Sis held serve. Then Vika called a medical timeout (yes, a justified one) and shit started falling apart. She returned to the court with a huge wrap, exactly like that of Caro’s, on her left thigh and was pretty hobbly (that’s totally a word). She managed to hold serve, but things kept getting progressively worse, and the tears kept coming faster. Not to mention Agi was pushing Vika all around the court, and then busting dirty drop shots (she has to have the best drop shot in the game, I think) that Vika wouldn’t even bother running too. In the cruelest twist of Svenatarianism fate, A-Rad made a drop shot up 4-1, that just tapped the net cord and fell onto Vika’s side… in which case she decided she had had enough, and that was that. Pretty rough ending to Vika’s year, obviously. Clearly people had a point with Caro, “well she plays so many damn tournaments…” “why was she in Luxembourg last week?” but Vika hasn’t played nearly the same amount of tournaments as Caro, and suffered basically the same fate in the hot and humid weather of Doha. And that’s not even touching Dina (and the insane fact that the tenth ranked player is subbing in…). Yo WTA, your top two young stars are cramping up at the Year End Championship held in a place where you can’t even sell tickets (as seen above). Um, maybe get on that.

This of course means that Caro and JJ are into the semis (what ridiculous journeys the two of them have had) to represent the White Group, and Serena and Venus are for the Maroon Group. The semis kick off tomorrow a half an hour EARLIER than what has been going on this week (the WTA now standing for “What The? – Arbitrary”) at 4:30pm local time with JJ vs. Venus and then Caro vs. Serena. Oh, its gonna be fun.

This Does Not Taste Good

Posted by Brodie under: Agi, Flavs, Luxembourg, Moscow

21 Oct 2009

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So much for that whole “battle to get into Doha” thing. Poor Aga lost to MaKiri 3 and 3, and Flavs retired against Agi Szavay down 0-3 in the second set after winning the first, with a leg injury. Lame. A-Rad cited being tired on court, and the fact that it was playing so slow (it really is in Moscow, insanely slow for a hard court) meant she had to run down a lot of balls and was just generally feeling exhausted. Le sigh. As for Flavs, a crap end to a great year, head up woman. As you’ve probably figured out, both players are now out for contention into Doha. And because of the ridonk rules, A-Rad can’t get into Doha, and Flavs who can, won’t go because Fed Cup is the same week. Oh WTA, you’ve done it again.

So who do we have left? JJ and Bepa, separated by a whopping 5 points in the race, with JJ having the slight edge. So pretty well, whoever gets further in Moscow is into Doha, and if they both lose in the same round, then its JJ. Simple as that.

Further WAT? in Moscow, A-Bond beat Nads in straights.

Wicky, Dani, and Ms. Licky all won in Luxembourg, and Flippy McFlipkens upset third seed AMG. How about them Belgians?

The Changeover Podcast:

Episode #56 – Indian Wells Wrap