WHAT HAPPENED: In the first match to finish at the 2014 US Open, Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska sent Canadian Sharon Fichman packing in 47 minutes in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Monday in their first-ever WTA meeting.
Both players have historically relied on their finesse rather than power. But on Monday, one of Poland’s most successful players asserted her No. 4 seeding. After losing her serve in the opening game, Radwanska quickly bounced back and won 12 consecutive games, routinely winning her opener, 6-1, 6-0. The 25-year-old was in perfect form on her familiar Open stage and exhibited similar skills that led to her recent Rogers Cup win. Only her hair color had changed from last year’s baby blonde hue.
Commanding almost every point, Radwanska moved the ball from side to side and made swinging volley winners whenever she could. The world No. 114, playing in only her second US Open main-draw appearance, committed 24 unforced errors, four times as many as her consistent opponent. Serves coming off of Radwanska’s Babolat racquet were more effectively placed than Fichman’s.
Once the second set started, Radwanska kept her winning groove going. She hit 16 forehand winners, higher than average for her. On match point, Fichman blew a forehand return wide.
WHAT IT MEANS: Radwanska advances to the tournament’s second round for the ninth consecutive time. She faces the winner of the all-Chinese match-up of Shuai Peng and Jie Zheng. On the other hand, Fichman has yet to win a main-draw Grand Slam singles match, losing twice in the Open’s first round.
The only win Fichman had over Radwanska was back in juniors at 2006 Roland Garros, when the Canadian partnered with Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to beat the team of Radwanska and Wozniacki in three sets.
THE QUESTION: Can Radwanska continue her run and advance past the round of 16 for the first time ever? How far can the world No. 5 go?