Melbourne - Fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska battled through the pain barrier
Friday to ease past Monica Puig and into the Australian Open fourth
round as she continued her relentless march towards the second week.
in-form Pole, who won the Shenzhen Open this month, hit back from an
early break to reel off nine games in a row and beat the 22-year-old
Puerto Rican 6-4, 6-0 in 76 minutes on Margaret Court Arena.
will now play Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam who upset 13th-seeded Roberta
Vinci, the Italian who ended Serena Williams' calendar-year Grand Slam
bid on her way to the US Open final in September.
out of the lead-up Sydney International to rest a troubled left leg,
but it is clearly still giving her problems.
She needed treatment
on her foot at the end of the first set and had the trainer out several
times to massage her calf, although she downplayed the issue afterwards.
think pain is my second name," she said. "I have had to get used to it.
Pills are not working, tape is not working, so I'll just have to deal
with the pain."
Radwanska, who shattered dangerous Canadian
Eugenie Bouchard's Grand Slam dream in the second round, is in her 10th
consecutive Australian Open and her experience came to the fore against
The pair had never met before and sounded each other out
early in the match, which went to serve in the opening six games before
Puig grabbed the advantage after an errant Radwanska backhand.
Miami-based right-hander reached her first WTA final in Sydney earlier
this month and had won nine of her last 10 matches, but she couldn't
hold her nerve when serving to go 5-3 ahead.
Instead, a wild volley followed by a loose backhand allowed Radwanska to immediately break back.
Pole saved two break points to hold serve for 5-4 and then produced
some inspired groundstrokes to break again and take the set in 49
Radwanska used the changeover to get treatment on her leg but the problem certainly didn't impede her and she came out firing.
broke a rapidly faltering Puig, a junior finalist at Melbourne Park in
2011 and now ranked 52 in the world, in the second and fourth games.
Demoralised, the Puerto Rican could barely win a point as the Pole raced to a routine victory.
started really well, I didn't expect that," Radwanska said. "She played
really intensely. In the second set I found my rhythm and was serving
The accomplished Radwanska, who this month eased
above Maria Sharapova to be fourth on the rankings, has been in top form
for several months, winning the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore
and backing up by claiming the title in Shenzhen.
While she has
long been among the elite women's players, she has yet to break through
at the majors, coming closest at Wimbledon in 2012 when she was
runner-up to Serena Williams. Her best showing in Melbourne was the
semi-finals in 2014.