Two players I especially enjoy watching are Agnieszka Radwanska and Daniela Hantuchova, so it was a treat to see them compete against one another in the San Diego semifinals. Radwanska has a very clever all-court game, and Hantuchova has a rather elegant game. Both play no-nonsense tennis, and I watch them whenever I have a chance.
Tonight, both players were in fine form, but it was the often-overlooked athleticism of Radwanska that gave the 4th seed the edge, and kept her in the excellent form she displayed against Shahar Peer yesterday. She defeated Hantuchova 6-4, 6-1.
In her quarterfinal match, Radwanska made only nine unforced errors. In tonight's match, she also made nine, and seven of those were made in the first set. She executed a couple of successful over-the-shoulder backhands, a winning one-handed backhand, and a number of stunning volleys. Hantuchova raised her level and saved seven match points on her own serve at 1-5, and--after a ten-deuce game (in which both of Radwanska's second-set unforced errors occurred)--she held for 2-5. The 20-minute game provided some high drama, and showed Hantuchova at her very best. Radwanska, however, then served for the match and won it 6-4, 6-2 on her eighth match point.
The match was choice entertainment. Indeed, the 20-minute game was choice entertainment on its own.
In the other semifinal match, 5th seed Flavia Pennetta's glory was cut short by Svetlana Kuznetsova, who looked better than she has in a while. However, it was also cut short by Pennetta herself, whose serve sometimes goes completely to pieces. Today was one of those times. Kuznetsova played quite well, but--as the match wore on--Pennetta offered less and less resistance. Kuznetsova won 6-4, 6-0.