Radwanska wins battle of struggling stars

Published by Matt Trollope

Former world No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska (L) took her head-to-head against former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic (R) to 8-2 after winning their first-round match at Wimbledon; Getty Images
In a battle between players far away from their former heights, Agnieszka Radwanska brushed aside Jelena Jankovic in the first round at WImbledon.

One was a Wimbledon finalist and former world No.2. The other, a former world No.1, had reached a US Open final.

Yet today, Agnieszka Radwanska and Jelena Jankovic – both struggling for form and fitness – were battling in the first round at Wimbledon.

Radwanska emerged a 7-6(3) 6-0 winner against Jankovic, who faded badly to lose in less than 90 minutes.

It was a much-needed win for the Radwanska; while she hasn’t plummeted in the rankings quite like her Serbian opponent, who languishes at world No.67, the Pole has endured a lean season, her win-loss record standing a 11-10 coming into Wimbledon.

“Of course it’s great to be back. Especially that I have really rough couple of weeks before I came here,” said the No.9 seed, who extended her head-to-head record over Jankovic to 8-2.

“I think every match that I can win makes me happy.”

RADWANSKA: level in women’s tennis has really improved

There haven’t been many happy moments for Radwanska in 2017.

She revealed she’d been struggling with ongoing foot issues as well as a virus since the French Open, and lamented the fact she came to the All England Club completely underdone.

In her only match on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon, she fell in straight sets to American lucky loser Lauren Davis at Eastbourne.

Perhaps she was fortunate to draw Jankovic, who arrived on a four-match losing streak; her last win came in Rome, and she’d lost 15 of 23 matches in 2017.

“That match (today against Jankovic) cost me a lot of energy. I feel like I just played five sets,” Radwanska said.

“That’s not a good feeling, but at least I won. So now I know how it is to play without the practice. That’s for sure.

“It wasn’t really a great couple of months. I’m struggling pretty much with myself than with opponents. I didn’t really do much before I came here, but Eastbourne, which I probably shouldn’t even play, I was there. So every practice I have before here, it was a lot.

“Before Paris I was really struggling with the foot. It’s still going on, and it’s something that I cannot take care of 100 per cent. It’s coming back.

“Just (trying to come) back to the 100 per cent, but I think it’s still far from that. So every match matters. Of course grass is the surface I really feel good. Hopefully I can really do good here even without the preparation.

“I think this year the most important thing is to be healthy and trying to get rid of all the stuff that is going on this year. That’s the main goal. Then we will see what’s gonna happen.”

Radwanska has reached the second week the past five years running at Wimbledon, with her best results being a final in 2012 and semifinals in 2013 and 2015.

She next takes on Christina McHale of the United States.

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