Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska meet in the first block-buster quarter-final of the Australian Open. The season has just started and the pair is meeting for the 2nd time in 2013.
At stake will be Radwanska's 13 match winning streak, and she has compiled the streak without losing a set. Li Na has won 12 matches in 2013 and her lone loss came at the hands of Agnieszka Radwanska.
This will be a clash of styles, Radwanska with soft hands, while Li Na with powerful strokes.
Li Na leads the head to head by 5-4, but it was Radwanska who scored the win in straight sets in the pair's encounter in the semi-finals of Sydney 2013.
It is interesting to note that Li has won 4 of the pair's 5 encounters on hard-courts.
Both players have yet to drop a set at Australian Open so far.
For Radwanska, this is her 4th Australian Open quarter-final and 3rd straight. The last two years, she lost to the eventual champion at the QF stage. As for Li, this is her 3rd Australian Open quarter-final in the last 4 years. In 2010 she made the semis, and in 2011 she made the finals, last year she fell in the 4th round. An interesting thing to note is that Radwanska has gone 0-3 in the Australian Open quarter-finals, while Li has gone 2-0 in the QF at the Australian Open. Will it be the 4th time lucky for Radwanska or will Li continue her fine run?
Let us see what does the performance of each player tell us so far.
The stats are the average stats for the 4 matches played by Players so far at the Australian Open 2013
|1st Serve %age||68%||66%|
|1st serve points won||67%||69%|
|2nd serve points won||65%||49%|
|Net points won||52%||60%|
|Break points won||53%||72%|
|1st serve return won||49%||45%|
|2nd serve return won||61%||65%|
The match will come down to a few things.
Serve : Li's serve has been vulnerable, she has been double-faulting a lot. She has won only 49% of her second serve points, and if she wants to win this match she will have to up her second serve. Radwanska has won on average 65% points on her second serve, while Li has won only 49% points played behind her 2nd serve. If, Li does not improve in this department her chances of winning this encounter will decrease a lot. Li has been broken 7 times in the tournament so far, while Radwanska has dropped her serve only 4 times so far.
Break Points Conversion : Radwanska has been serving bettter than Li Na, but Li has won far more break points as compared to Radwanska. Radwanska will have to go for the chances she gets, if she wants to keep her unbeaten run going.
Points won while returning 2nd serve: Radwanska has won 65% points on her 2nd serve so far, while Li has won 65% points while returning the 2nd serves of her opponents so far. If Radwanska serves the way she has, it will be tough for Li to go after Radwanska's second serve and hence her chances will decrease. Li on the other hand has won just 49% on her 2nd serve, while Radwanska has won 61% points while returning the second serves of her opponents, so this will definitely give Radwanska a good chance of winning points on Li's second delivery.
Another important aspect has been the winners-unforced errors differential. Li has a -ve differential of 7, while Radwanska has a positive differential of 2. Li will have to keep her unforced errors low to have a chance, she won't like to give Radwanska free points.
Li has remained focused and calm so far in her matches in 2013, and if she does not panic in her match agianst Radwanska, she will definitely have an advantage.
Radwanska is yet to make the semi-finals of Australian Open, and her game and confidence level will be high and may take her to her first ever Australian Open semi-final, but Li Na might have other plans. She has been to this stage of Australian Open before and know what it takes to win this. If she finds her range she will definitely wipe Radwanska off court. The key for Radwanska will be not to let Li settle in and go on firing from the start.
Pick: Radwanska in 3 sets.
For a preview of Sharapova/Makarova match, please go here.
P.S : I will be rooting for Li Na, though. and sorry for the typos, if any.
Who do you think will win?