Agnieska Radwanska has continued her unbeaten start to 2016 to surge into the semifinals of the Australian Open for the second time.
The No.4 seed was in command from the get-go at Melbourne Park against a perplexed Carla Suarez Navarro.
The duo had to recover from gruelling fourth round comebacks but it was evident Radwanska, who warmed up for the Open by claiming the Shenzhen title, was more comfortable in the heat at Rod Laver Arena.
“I’m very, very pleased. I knew it was going to be tough,” Radwanska said. “I tried to be aggressive, to focus on my serve and think I did a good job.”
The Pole immediately conjured her game of crafty spins, angles and varying speed to stamp her authority on the contest.
No.10 seed Suarez Navarro surrendered her opening service game with a double fault and a backhand ballooning long.
It rapidly got worse for the Spaniard as she was dragged from side to side, to the net and back as Radwanska’s all-court prowess secured a rapid 4-0 lead by virtue of 11 unforced errors for Suarez Navarro.
The serve was a particularly potent weapon for Radwanska, who made 79 per cent of first deliveries while breaking Suarez Navarro three times to storm to take the first set 6-1.
Suarez Navarro held a 7-24 record against top-five opponents ahead of the clash but victory from a set down in the pair’s most recent meeting in Miami last year gave her some confidence.
That hope evaporated early in the second set when Radwanska was gifted an instant break for a 2-0 lead.
However, Suarez Navarro’s elegant single-handed backhand and punchy forehand allowed her to edge back into the contest and level the set at 3-3 with some resolute defence.
It was Radwanska who wrestled away the initiative once again with a textbook drive volley and smart darts to the net.
The variety and astonishing consistency was too much for the Spaniard, who finished with 45 unforced errors to 11.
Radwanska staved off two break points to serve out the match 6-3, ensuring a marquee semi-final against either defending champion Serena Williams or 2015 finalist Maria Sharapova.
“That’s going to be an incredible match whoever wins. I’m going to watch that for sure,” she said. “I need to get a good rest and hopefully I will be able to play my best tennis otherwise I’ll be in big trouble for sure.”
"I think in the second week of a Grand Slam you have nothing to lose, it doesn’t matter who you are playing."