Agnieszka Radwanska vs Victoria Azarenka live streaming, preview and tips: Old rivals meet for the first time in four years at the Miami Open

Hannah Wilks in WTA 26 Mar 2018
  • Old rivals Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka face off for the first time in four years at the Miami Open
  • Radwanska vs Azarenka Miami Open tennis is live from Miami on Monday at 3pm local/8pm BST
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Miami at Unibet > sport > tennis
Agnieszka Radwanska (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

For the first time in four years, old rivals Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka face off – which former champion will make the quarterfinals of the Miami Open on Monday?

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Victoria Azarenka Miami Open tennis is live from Miami on Monday at 3pm local/8pm BST. Watch and bet on tennis live from Miami at Unibet > sports > tennis  

With the top two seeds and eight-time champion Serena Williams all out of the Miami Open by the fourth round, two of the remaining four former Miami Open champions in the draw face off for a place in the quarterfinals as Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Victoria Azarenka.

2012 champion Radwanska pulled off the shock win of the women’s tournament so far on Saturday as she defeated world no. 1 Simona Halep 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the third round – a result that was a huge shock not so much because of their history (the head-to-head was 5-5 coming in) or because Radwanska isn’t a quality player, being as she is a former world no. 2 and Grand Slam finalist, but rather because of the Pole’s recent form and the way that Halep started the match. After all, Radwanska declined from world no. 3 to world no. 18 during an injury-troubled 2017 season and hasn’t reached a final for well over a year, since losing to Johanna Konta in the Apia International Sydney last January; she would only make it as far as the semifinals at one more event (New Haven) for the remainder of the season. The 2015 WTA Finals Singapore champion didn’t come close to qualifying for the season-ending championships, the first year since 2010 she’s been absent – and her slide has continued in 2018: Although Radwanska won back-to-back matches at her first three events of the season, making the quarterfinals in Auckland, Sydney and the third round of the Australian Open (where she lost to Su-Wei Hsieh), she went 1-3 in Doha, Dubai and Indian Wells, dropping to world no. 32 as a result.

Maybe, though, we were too quick to dismiss the signs of recovering form from Radwanska – it’s not as if the women she’s been losing to (Petra Kvitova in Doha, Daria Kasatkina in Dubai, Naomi Osaka at Indian Wells) were poor or out-of-form opponents. But there’s no denying that Halep was very much in charge in the early stages of their match on Saturday. Radwanska would recover two breaks, but she could only hold serve once in the first set, and Halep was completely controlling the play – her forehand was the most potent shot on the court, and she made good use of it, and the Pole had no answer. 

Under the circumstances, therefore, it was really a major shock when Radwanska raced to a 4-0 lead in the second set. Halep’s level of play did fall off a cliff for no apparent reason, but Radwanska was ready to pounce (as always) and as the match continued, and Halep’s level continued to unpredictably rise and fall, Radwanska remained cool-headed and in control of her own game. She also started to exploit real vulnerabilities and cracks in the Halep game in her own inimitable style, especially when it came to forcing Halep to come into the forecourt – somewhere the Romanian was catastrophically ineffective throughout. Despite trailing 0-2, Radwanska won six of the last seven games in the third set to record a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory – her second top-10 win of the year after beating Konta in Sydney. 

‘I expected a tough match from Simona, so I’m just glad I could win a match like this,’ Radwanska said afterwards. ‘There were pretty tricky conditions and some weird shots, but I’m very, very happy with the way I played, especially at the end. And to beat the no. 1 in the world, obviously.’


Victoria Azarenka (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Victoria Azarenka also had to come back from a set down in her third-round match as she battled against Anastasija Sevastova for an excellent, if uneven, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win. 

‘It was a difficult match," Azarenka said afterwards. ‘Obviously, I don’t feel like I played my best tennis, but those kind of matches are super important for me right now, to be able to find a way to go through. I have to build on from this, take confidence from this match, that I was able to figure it out.’

Playing just her second event since Wimbledon 2017, and just her fourth since the French Open in 2016, it’s incredibly impressive that Azarenka beat her second top-25 opponent of the tournament after leading Madison Keys 7-6(5), 2-0 when the American retired in the second round. (Azarenka’s first-round win came over Cici Bellis.) 

Miami, of course, has often been a very fruitful tournament for Azarenka. The former world no. 1 had her breakthrough run here in 2009 when she won the Premier Mandatory title, defeating Serena Williams in the final, and she would go on to win the Miami Open twice more, in 20111 (d. Maria Sharapova) and 2016 (d. Svetlana Kuznetsova), completing the rare ‘Sunshine Double’ on the latter occasion – while pregnant, no less. As a result, Azarenka brings a nine-match winning streak at the Miami Open to this clash with Radwanska – and very raw, unpredictable form.
It’s Azarenka’s form that is the big unknown coming into this match, because there are few secrets between these two old friends and rivals – they have played each other 18 times over the years, with Azarenka leading the head-to-head 12-5.

‘I think we’ve played on every possible surface and in every tournament!’ Radwanska said.  ‘She’s one of the best players in the world and she’s always going to be. Playing her, I really have nothing to lose so that’s going to push me 100%.’

The two haven’t played for four years – not since the Rogers Cup in 2014, when Radwanska scored her second victory over Azarenka that season, the Belarusian having won seven, a run stretching back to 2012. On American hard courts, Azarenka leads the head-to-head 2-1, but Radwanska must recognize this is a huge opportunity to get a win over her old rival while she’s still very unsure of her game and her newly remodeled serve, and to turn around her slide down the rankings by making the quarterfinals in Miami.

‘She’s a very good player, she’s a very tricky opponent, she reads the game really well,’ Azarenka said. ‘I need to be aggressive, I need to dictate, because she gets a lot of balls back, and she’s very good on the counter-attack.’


Radwanska vs Azarenka Miami Open tennis is live from Miami on Monday at 3pm local/8pm BST. Watch and bet on the match live at Unibet > sports > tennis > Agnieszka Radwanska vs Victoria Azarenka


Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Victoria Azarenka live streaming, preview and tips: Old rivals meet for the first time in four years at the Miami Open

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Victoria Azarenka live streaming, preview and tips for the Miami Open fourth-round WTA singles match on Monday 26 March 2018: Radwanska and Azarenka have played 18 times but never at the Miami Open with a quarterfinal spot on the line. We preview the match and show you how you can watch the match live and bet in-play.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages