Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Could this Australian Open be a breakthrough for Agnieszka Radwanska?

MELBOURNE, Australia - After winning the biggest title of her career at the WTA Finals at the end of the 2015 season, Agnieszka Radwanska made a big declaration - that she would do everything in her power to win a Grand Slam title in 2016 (check out the full interview with CNN Open Court here).

But Radwanska hasn't just been talking the talk of a future Grand Slam champion - she's been walking the walk, big time. Since losing early at the US Open she's been doing a heck of a lot of winning, capturing four of the six tournaments she's played - Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Tianjin, the WTA Finals in Singapore and Shenzhen this past week - and putting together a more than impressive 22-4 record.

And by winning Shenzhen, Radwanska also secured a rise from No.5 to No.4 on the WTA Rankings, meaning she'll have a Top 4 seed at the Australian Open, which, in turn, means she won't have to play Serena Williams until at least the semifinals - a good break given she's 0-8 against the World No.1.

But the question remains: Why could the Australian Open be Radwanska's first Grand Slam title?

Well, there's actually a very good reason Radwanska could make her breakthrough at the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific - she's won 10 of her 18 career WTA titles in the Asia-Pacific**:

2016 - Shenzhen
2015 - Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Tianjin, WTA Finals [Singapore]
2014 - Montréal
2013 - Auckland, Sydney, Seoul
2012 - Dubai, Miami, Brussels
2011 - Carlsbad, Tokyo [Pan Pacific], Beijing
2008 - Pattaya City, Istanbul, Eastbourne
2007 - Stockholm

** The general definition for Asia-Pacific is East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania

Radwanska was asked why she always does so well in the Asia-Pacific during her week in Shenzhen.

"That's a good question - I'm not sure!" she replied. "I'm always feeling good on the court here, and I'm always playing great tennis. And you can't ignore the results - that's really a lot of tournaments.

"Hopefully there will be even more tournaments to play in the Asia-Pacific in the future!"

Many would pick Wimbledon to be Radwanska's best major - she reached her first Grand Slam final there in 2012, after all - but she's been to the quarterfinals or better at the Australian Open just as many times as at Wimbledon (five). Her best result in Melbourne was the semifinals back in 2014.

Can the World No.4, a former World No.2, go all the way this time? Stay tuned on!

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