Agnieszka Radwanska Loses, Bartoli Still Alive For Istanbul

19 Oct

After Radwanska won Tokyo and Beijing back to back, she seemed a shoo-in to qualify as one of the Elite 8 to play in the Tour Championships in Istanbul. With Petkovic injured, the only one who could even think of catching Aga was Marion Bartoli. The Frenchwoman would not only need to go undefeated over the last two weeks of the season, but Agnieszka also had to go winless. With Radwanska not scheduled to play last week, Marion really turned on the pressure when she won the title in Osaka.

No big deal, right? Bartoli would have to win the Kremlin Cup AND Radwanska would have to lose her opening match for Marion to qualify. Not likely. Things got a bit dicier when the draw came out, and Radwanska was not happy to see that she would have to face Lucie Safarova. Not only was Lucie the highest ranked player not seeded, but more importantly she owned a 3-1 record over Aga including their only match this year. The pressure was on.

Radwanska raced to a 3-0 lead, but she clearly looked nervous as the match proceeded. Lucie then began to dominate and won 15 straight points on serve as she came from behind to win the first set. Radwanska’s head was not in Moscow, this match was all about Istanbul. She somehow squeaked out the second despite still looking shaky, but Lucie was able to hang on by a score of 64 46 64.

With Osaka Trophy, Moscow Next?

Marion still needs to handle the pressure of winning the title in Moscow, but what was once a hope and a prayer is now a legitimate chance to make the Elite 8. Both players have never qualified directly for the Tour Championships, and yet both have played and won matches as alternates. Bartoli replaced an injured Serena in 2007 to beat Jelena Jankovic but failed to proceed to the semis due to her 6-0 6-0 loss to Justine who was eager to avenge the Wimbledon loss that year to Marion. Radwanska won both of her round-robin matches with wins over Kuznetzova and Azarenka in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Who knows, maybe both players will get to hit the court in Istanbul after all.


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