2015 Aegon International

Semi-final Preview: Radwanska vs. Stephens

Agnieszka Radwanska is roaring once more, and her timely revival on the Eastbourne grass ahead of Wimbledon means that the popular Pole is back on track having suffered a torrid time this season.

Yet in-form American ace Sloane Stephens is her next obstacle, although that won’t cause Radwanska any worries on her favourite surface.

Radwanska, who fell out of the world’s top 10 following a string of shocking results prior to the grass court season, has only lost nine games to reach the semi-final stage and has been in remarkable form to send Irina Falconi, Karolina Pliskova and Tsvetana Pironkova off to SW19.

The #9 seed meets Stephens who has also experienced a relatively easy route to the semi-finals. Stephens pulled off a real coup by defeating world #9 Carla Suarez Navarro, who has a poor grass court record, in straight sets in the 1st Round.

And she followed that up with an easy win over British #1 Heather Watson, who looked lost on the Centre Court and was pinned to her baseline by the American.

Stephens was gifted a walkover by the withdrawal of Qualifier Daria Gavrilova, who only appeared in the main draw as a last-gasp replacement for unwell top seed Petra Kvitova. So the American has yet to be properly challenged although Radwanska is a tough test.

The Pole’s success on grass, which includes winning the 2008 Eastbourne crown and reaching the 2012 Wimbledon final, gives her an added boost and the former world #2’s form largely relies on her confidence.

She has recently been posting some very poor results on clay but this is her second semi-final on grass and she possesses an aggressive streak on the surface.
Yet Stephens is no easy opponent on grass and reached the 2013 Wimbledon quarter-finals before bowing out to eventual champion Marion Bartoli, and has definitely taken her game up a notch in recent months since being reunited with coach Nick Saviano.

However, Radwanska is buzzing and her 100% success rate with three victories over Stephens has all the weapons to maintain that record even though all the meetings with the American have been tight contests.

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