Agnieszka Radwanska Hits Another Roadblock In New York
NEW YORK -- The US Open has never been Agnieszka Radwanska's tournament. For such a talented player, she hasn't shown her best in New York, and on Wednesday, the No. 4 seed was out early yet again when unseeded Peng Shuai defeated her 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.
Radwanska was the first top-10 seed to get knocked out of the women's draw, and it's a familiar story for her. The Polish player has never reached a quarterfinal in Flushing Meadows, despite being seeded in the top 10 five times. So why does she struggle here?
"It's a good question," Radwanska said. "I want to know the answer for that question, as well. Of course [it] also depends [on] who play, that's for sure. But draw is the draw. You have no choice. But, you know, I didn't play bad today. I think it was just her day. Of course I could do something different maybe, or try something else, as well, but I really try my best and I was fighting 'til the end. I just couldn't do it."
Peng may be unseeded, but she is a deceptive player. With her fast pace and sharp angles, she can knock top players off their game. Peng did that in 2010 when she beat Radwanska, then the ninth seed here, in the second round in three sets. Their previous four matches all went to three sets.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who isn't playing in this tournament as she rehabilitates an MCL injury, practiced with Peng earlier in the week. Mattek-Sands said the veteran from China, ranked 39th in the world, was hitting the ball extremely well.
"I think I have to tell myself, you know, like I believe myself more," Peng said. "I have about two times almost [quit] playing. So it's really lucky I'm still here. And then with [every] top player I play, I learn. Their tennis maybe is different. Some like to really power. And like today, Radwanska, she's really smart. ... I want to learn like how I can be there."
When Radwanska -- who reached a semifinal of the Australian Open this year and the 2012 Wimbledon final -- sees the US Open approaching on the calendar, she acknowledges that it hasn't been her best Grand Slam event.
"Well, it's always a good sign that I don't have much points to defend, so it's always the good side the next year," Radwanska said. "That's why I think it's maybe a little bit less pressure. But the other hand, it's more pressure because I really want to do better. But, well, not this year, I guess."
Radwanska's quarter of the draw opens up, a fact that might have helped No. 21 American Sloane Stephens reach a semifinal if she hadn't lost her own second-round match in three sets to Johanna Larsson soon after Radwanska fell.
Instead, No. 9 Jelena Jankovic, No. 22 Alize Cornet or No. 6 Angelique Kerber could benefit.
Radwanska will start to prepare for the Asia tournaments that fill out the remainder of the WTA calendar. She has had a good season, beating Venus Williams to win in Montreal and reaching the final at Indian Wells.
"Well, I think my season was not too bad," Radwanska said. "Couple of really good results, especially in the hard court. So, you know, I'm still fighting for the chance. I have, you know, still big chance to go [to the BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore], so it means the season was not too bad."