40th on route to Singapore, Wimbledon dream looks unlikely for one former finalist!

At a time where the women’s draw is wide open opportunity knocks and for former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska you would have thought would be one of those looking for that opportunity but so far it’s been a horrendous season for the former world number 2 now at 10 in the world comes into Wimbledon with a 11-10 win/loss ratio after her defeat to Lauren Davis in Eastbourne where she is usually effective on the grass but lasted not long over an hour into the week.

There are moments in a career where you think this could propel a player going forward or on the other hand could halt them. Back in 2015 Aga was the surprise champion at the WTA Finals in Singapore and I asked the question can Aga push on and in all honesty she hasn’t.

At the moment Aga is ranked at 40 in the world on the Road to Singapore and unless something changes quickly Singapore will not happen for her and the ranking will continue to deteriorate.

Aga’s game is about flair and producing those brilliant shots most can dream about but it lacks that steel from the baseline and players aren’t afraid, yes they may get lobbed at some point but it hasn’t been a sustainable style of playing for some time and we saw against Lauren Davis the lack of impact on the baseline and during her own service games just a lack of movement and where the rest of the tour is right now is quite far ahead of Aga and a ranking of 10 I would say is false.

First up for Aga is Jelena Jankovic and to be honest I don’t see her coming through that match at all, I’d love to be proved wrong but the way the season has gone something incredible would have to happen!



Similar story once again for Radwanska as Bellis stars in Dubai!

Last week I spoke about Agnieszka Radwanska and her lack of aggression against Caroline Wozniacki and once again we have a similar story as the former Wimbledon champion fell in three sets to 17 year old Cici Bellis in Dubai.

Watching the match back it is the similar talking points, the serve especially the second serve is one of the big ways into the match for an opponent of Aga’s with the Pole winning just 13/28 points behind which might not sound too bad but is below 50%.

Something I saw too much of was that lack of depth but it can be turned around and maybe she needs to take a step forward literally on the court and be less defensive.

At the end of the first set between the two we saw this graphic as shown below showing the rally hit point.


You can see Aga was spending the majority of the set about a metre behind the baseline but looking at the graphic you could just turn around and say that Bellis was too aggressive and Aga couldn’t deal with it but watching the match you just hoped that the Pole would take that step forward as there was an opportunity but her shot depth wasn’t asking questions of Bellis.


Now, what I have put together may look a bit confusing but it is pretty self explanatory. This isn’t an accurate impression of the depth but the bigger the green rectangle the better, the bigger the red rectangle the worse as there isn’t much depth on shots with no power or aggressive behind and the yellow is the bit in the middle.

You can see how small Aga’s green box is, there weren’t too many times when she got that ball near the paint work of the baseline but too many shots were played in that red area not asking questions of Bellis but just going through the motions instead of cranking up the gears.

Wozniacki 7-5 6-3 Radwanska – Dane’s aggression too much as Radwanska falls early in Doha

At the beginning of the season I wrote about Aga’s need to find something extra to challenge the top players as she is never going to power them off the court but today she ran into a composed, aggressive and determined Caroline Wozniacki in Doha.

From the beginning of the match despite the first set being decided so late on it was the Dane who looked the more comfortable of the two during rallies and there felt like there was an inevitability that she would end up winning rallies winning 16 more points than Aga in the match which may not sound like much but is effectively four games.

Wozniacki is someone to keep an eye on at the moment she had a great run of form at the back end of last year but hasn’t got a similar run going as of yet but it only takes a couple of good performances to do it.

Three aspects of the game which were big contributions to the result were:

·      Wozniacki backhand

·      Radwanska forehand pressure

·      Aggressive return from Wozniacki

The backhand of Caro when not under pressure gave her time to pick her corner and slowly begin to grind rallies out and then put pressure on the Radwanska forehand corner with the depth and power on this slow court which she got forcing the Pole to stretch and try to use the slice just to stay in rallies against a patient and in control Wozniacki.

The main talking point from the match was the aggressive from Wozniacki whether is was on serve, during rallies but importantly on return.


This graphic from BT Sport pretty much sums it up. Over 75% of service returns from Wozniacki were inside the baseline some of which were almost an incredible 2 metres inside the baseline especially on that swinging serve out-wide which some of Wozniacki’s skill was all over and only ended up at times a metre behind the baseline.

This aggressive stance on returns shows that confidence in her game to execute these shots. Anyone can stand a metre inside the baseline and try to return serve but executing it throughout the match needs that composure on concentration which helped send Caro to the next round and if the weather holds off will be back in action later today!


How a lack of strategy on serve and return cost Radwanska in Sydney

Agnieszka Radwanska is never going to have the most powerful serve in the game and after her performance against Johanna Konta in the final of Sydney which she lost 6-4 6-2 and watching it back a couple of times could she have done more with her return and serve game and where can she improve?

Just before Christmas I wrote a piece about Radwanska needing to find that bite in her game to challenge these very good baseliners / top player which I will post at the bottom but let’s look at her serve and return game…


From the beginning we saw no plan from Aga returning the serve of Konta and it was frustrating to watch. With the forehand she will look for that strong serve out-wide and the one down the T on the deuce side.


I can’t believe that Aga wasn’t expecting the serve out wide on this one. Positionally it couldn’t be worse she hasn’t read it at all well and is face side on with her feet stuck forcing her to slice into the backhand of Konta as shown by the red line when she should have anticipated it more and gone for the step out-wide and tried to open up the return cross court as shown with the green but ended up slicing into the backhand of the Brit who tidily hit an un-returned shot to take a 4-2 lead.

Serve out wide…

I like the slice serve out-wide but going for this shot at 40-40 on second serve into the forehand of Konta is just asking for trouble.


From this position a second serve down the T would have been a better option it gives you the chance to return to the baseline but the serve out to the forehand was brutally returned by Konta with a winner cross-court that it left Radwanska playing a game of stuck in the mud as shown by the red circles by her feet which are planted and too far apart with movement towards the ball difficult!

Going forward?

Winning the Australian Open would be a massive achievement for Aga but in all honesty I think it’s very unlikely especially as somewhere down the line she will inevitably have to play a player who is dominant from the baseline and can overcome her trickery.

The serve isn’t bad but it needs more strategy to it, serving and retuning into your opponents strength is not a great idea at all.

Winning a Grand Slam this year? It could happen but it would have to be epic throughout, I want to see her use her serve and the skill she has to put pressure on her opponent and not on herself!

Screenshots credit to the WTA



Sydney born Brit Konta wins title in Sydney ahead of Melbourne

For British number one Johanna Konta preparations for the Australian Open could not have gone better after a good week in Brisbane the Sydney born Brit followed it up by winning her first title of the year in Sydney after what turned out to be a routine victory against Agnieszka Radwanska in the final winning 6-4 6-2.

Prior to beating the former WTA Finals Champion the Brit saw off some talented players including Daria Kasatkina, Daria Gavrilova and former finalist Eugenie Bouchard to claim her second WTA career singles title.

This win especially against Aga is massive.

Form going into the first major of the year always plays a big part, the season is only a couple of weeks old and some top players haven’t really got going yet this season. Honestly I think it is too easy to get carried away, Jo obviously made the semi-finals last year so two more wins isn’t much but it will be in pressure situations but as we know anything is possible in this sport?

On the other hand I feel like we’ve been here before with Aga, she’s good and then against hard hitting top players from the baseline she struggles which is something I wrote about just before Christmas with a link below…

Can Radwanska find that bite to challenge the top players on the tour?


Top seeds continue to fall in opening week!

The new season blues have continued to spread. Just the other day we saw Serena, Venus and Halep lose early and today adding to that list across the globe was the world number one Angelique Kerber a former world number one in Caroline Wozniacki and the previous two winners of the WTA Finals in Singapore in Agnieszka Radwanska and Dominika Cibulkova.

The start of the season is about finding rhythm and it is a worry with the first major of the year just 10 days away with players going in with no momentum.

The beauty of a Grand Slam compared to a weekly event is that you won’t be playing everyday but playing every other day which does help players refresh and looking at a few performances especially ones that have gone to three sets as there hasn’t be consistency or momentum there.

Early losses opens up the draws and possibilities for the next couple of events where all will want to be at their best to win one of the biggest titles in the sport.


Can Radwanska find that bite to challenge the best on the tour?

At the 2015 WTA Finals it was Agnieskza Radwanska who walked away as champion in Singapore and I remember after the finals I said this is her chance to go to that next level and challenge the very best in the world and in all honesty there wasn’t anything that caught my eye at all and to go to that next level she needs to find that biting shot!

Aga is not a player to power you off the court but technically is one of the best on the tour but needs to hurt players more. Time and time again we see these well executed shots from the Pole which at times leave you speechless but turning that wow into a consistent winner seems to be tough.

Top record

First of all we will look at her record against some of the top players on the tour…

Serena – 0/10
Sharapova – 2/13
Kerber – 6/6 (Kerber won three of last four)

Kvitova – 5/6

Muguruza – 4/4

Halep – 5/5

No winning head to head against these top players and there are plenty more you could throw into this. Record against Kerber, Kvitova, Muguruza and Halep isn’t bad but recent meetings have gone against the Pole.

Kerber, 3 games, Singapore

I felt a little uncomfortable watching this match, Aga was blown off the court it was a demolition job by the world number one but could be seen as a valuable lesson but Aga never managed to get Kerber moving.

Kerber will defend deep but creep inside the baseline but to get the better of her you have to take risks and as I call it paint the lines and I was astonished to see how little Aga placed shots towards the baseline.


One phrase, asking for trouble. That isn’t good enough from Aga at all and this is the difference from being a contender to being a champion, little things make the big difference!


Finding depth with little power in your game can be tough which is why I’d expect to see more of a slice from Aga but the lack of bite and control turns the neutral rallies on their head within a couple of seconds.

aga 2.png

You can see the shot above, there isn’t much going on in the rally, Aga’s just played a short backhand to the centre of the court and Kerber finds that bite and launches a stunning forehand down the line fooling Aga.

The body position of the German suggests that she is potentially thinking about that forehand cross court but opens up the racket head hit flick it off the top and sticks it down the line for a winner.

Honestly I thought winning in Singapore in 2015 would push Aga a bit further but I think others have overtaken her right now. This year we saw the rise of Kerber at a later stage in her career but also progression from young players on the tour like Muguruza.

Finding that bite isn’t about going for power but finding a shot that is effective. Aga won’t power you off the court with a 121mph forehand cross court but it doesn’t mean you can’t win big titles you just need to find that effective shot whether it’s introducing more slice or serve/volley the variation is there but the bite is missing!

Screenshots credit to SAP Sports – WTA Finals App + WTA