You have to hand it to Agnieszka Radwanska: She went three hours and 29 minutes today to put away that pesky Fighting Italian, Sara Errani. It was an oddly satisfying match, even though both women had really bad patches of play. But in spite of their deficiencies--Errani sometimes tried to take the easy way out and paid for it, and Radwanska made senseless errors--the beautiful shot-making from both players more than justified the time it took to watch the match. Radwanska should have closed it sooner, but you know how Errani is--she's like Schiavone and Pennetta. She kept taking away her opponent's victory. In the end, though, after repeatedly serving for the match, Radwansksa won, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4.
This was the longest match in WTA Championships history. Radwanska also played for three hours and twelve minutes against Maria Sharapova in another White Group match in Istanbul. This has to be a very tired player. In fact, after today's contest, Radwansksa said that her immediate goal was to "stay in one piece." She plays Serena Williams in the semifinals tomorrow, right after the first doubles match. To borrow a phrase from someone we all admire: Good luck with that.
And speaking of Someone We All Admire--World number 1 Victoria Azarenka clenched her place in the semifinals today by defeating Li Na 7-6, 6-3. Azarenka's screaming toward the end of the match became so intense that even I took notice of it. Intense.
Check out this WTA photo gallery for a picture of Azarenka that just explains it all.
The day started, however, in a calm manner, i.e., Maria Sharapova ran over Sam Stosur 6-0, 6-3. Is anyone surprised?
So tomorrow, Radwanska plays Williams (they met in the Wimbledon final) and Azarenka plays Sharapova (they met in the Australian Open final). The top four players in the world are in the draw tomorrow.
Tomorrow also features the semifinals for the top four doubles teams of the year. Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will play Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, and Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci will play Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova. Errani will undoubtedly be somewhat tired, but she has Vinci by her side, and--you know--she's a Fighting Italian.
And in the latest Istanbul video, Redfoo gets down with Nouni, Serena does beautiful splits, Kerber brings out the frying pan, and Asderaki smiles!