With a game built on rock-solid consistency, it is little surprise Agnieszka Radwanska’s results at Melbourne Park are a reflection of her style, the world No.5 through to her fourth straight Australian Open quarterfinal after a 6-1 6-3 dismissal of Garbine Muguruza on Monday night.
The winners flew off the statuesque Spaniard’s racket with 23 to Radwanska’s mere nine, but it was the unforced error count, 44 to 15, which brought her undone.
The 24-year-old Pole stands to reach her first Australian Open semifinal if she can overcome two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday, but she will be up against it.
The Belarusian owns a 13-3 head-to-head record over Radwanska, including winning their past seven matches, and comes off a convincing straight-sets victory over dangerous American Sloane Stephens earlier on Monday.
“I think this is quarterfinals and I’m playing a great champion, especially here, and I think I have nothing to lose against her,” Radwanska said of the upcoming showdown.
For her efforts, Muguruza – whose Venezuelan mother and Spanish father were watching from home in Barcelona – will leave Australia with fond memories, having come through qualifying to clinch her maiden career title in Hobart without the loss of a set and then reaching her first Grand Slam fourth round.
She took out 24th seed Kaia Kanepi in the first round and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, the 10th seed, in the third round, and gave Radwanska more than her share of headaches early on.
Three of the first four games went to six or more deuces, with Muguruza notching up backhand down-the-line winners at a rate of knots.
But it would be Radwanska who would secure the crucial first break for 3-1 after a six-deuce game.
From there, the Pole went on a tear, taking the last eight points of the set to secure it 6-1 after 44 minutes.
It was quickly becoming a tough night for the Spaniard.
Unable to make any further inroads on the Radwanska serve – she converted none of six break-point opportunities for the night – Muguruza soon found herself serving to stay in the match at 5-3.
She saved the first two match points before another forehand caught the tape, ending the contest after 77 minutes.
“I’m very, very happy that I could play my best tennis today,” Radwanska said.
“(I) saw her playing other matches and knew it was going to be tough. (I) had to play 100 per cent today.”
Tired of her consistent run of quarterfinal finishes at Melbourne Park, the fifth seed is determined to break new ground in 2014. Azarenka, though, may have other ideas.