WTA Wuhan: Ashleigh Barty ousts Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets

Ashleigh Barty’s impressive run at the 2017 Wuhan Open continued after she overpowered ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round after exactly two hours of play. Recovering from a set down, the Australian showed some great fighting spirit when she fought back to bagel the former Wimbledon finalist and eventually claimed the win in three sets.

Barty jumps out to an early lead

Radwanska came into the match with her serve still looking vulnerable, but her ability to absorb the power of Barty’s groundstrokes allowed her to eke out a tough service hold in the opening game, with the Australian unable to convert two break points. Nonetheless, Barty looked to have the perfect start which she wanted as she followed suit with a love hold of serve.

Agnieszka Radwanska hits a forehand | Photo: Yifan Ding/ AsiaPac

The Pole found herself in some deep trouble when she trailed by an early break, allowing Barty to make the first breakthrough with some well-controlled aggression as Radwanska started to spray out unforced errors. Barty consolidated the break in the toughest way possible, with Radwanska being unable to convert four break points which allowed the Australian to prevail in the 18-points game.

Radwanska fights back and takes the first set 6-4

The former world number two almost got herself into deep trouble but found her way out of yet another tight service game as she narrowly held her serve to lessen the deficit with the help of her solid first serves. Two consecutive return winners off the weak second serve of Barty allowed Radwanska to make the breakthrough out of nowhere, leveling the scores at 3-3.

Both players were extremely solid on their serves as the returner only managed to claim one solitary point in the next three games. Serving to stay in the set, the pressure seemed to have gotten to the youngster as she started to misfire, eventually allowing Radwanska to clinch the first set 6-4 after 46 minutes of play.

Agnieszka Radwanska serves at the Wuhan Open | Photo: Yifan Ding/ AsiaPac
Agnieszka Radwanska serves at the Wuhan Open | Photo: Yifan Ding/ AsiaPac

Barty produces the perfect reply

The coaching time-out for Barty in between the sets proved to be effective, breaking serve in the opening game of the second set before easily consolidating the break to love for an early lead. Despite a high first-serve percentage in this set, Radwanska was unable to find the rhythm on her serves at all with Barty being able to find some answers to the Pole’s variety of shots.

Continuing to play with confidence, the Australian stormed to an incredible 5-0 lead within a blink of an eye as she soon found herself serving for the set having outplayed her opponent throughout the set, playing some consistent tennis. Not disappointing her fans, Barty overcame the pressure and served out the set to bagel the world number 13 after just 27 minutes.

Even start to the final set

The Pole’s rout continued in the final set as she was just simply unable to match up against her younger opponent in terms of power, constantly being overpowered in groundstroke rallies. Barty was playing such flawless aggressive tennis that even Radwanska, who is renowned for being the best defensive player in recent years, failed to go against it. Finding herself in deep trouble, the Pole showed that her years of experience on tour was crucial as she quickly regained her composure and broke straight back to return on serve.

Ashleigh Barty in action | Photo: Yifan Ding/ AsiaPac
Ashleigh Barty in action | Photo: Yifan Ding/ AsiaPac

Barty takes the win

We did not have to wait long for the next breakthrough as Barty utilized her backhand slice to frustrate Radwanska, who started to commit more unforced errors as she returned the advantage to the Australian, trailing by a break once more. Radwanska almost managed to return level in the next game after getting to deuce but she was unable to find a break point as Barty narrowly held on for a 4-2 lead.

There were no more breaks of serve in the match, with Barty soon placing herself in a position to serve out the upset. Nerves were definitely affecting the world number 37 as she threw in three unforced errors on all her match points, before finally being fourth-time lucky after Radwanska sent a backhand into the net.

Ashleigh Barty applauds the crowd after the match | Photo: Wang He/ AsiaPac
Ashleigh Barty applauds the crowd after the match | Photo: Wang He/ AsiaPac

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