Racquet Reaction

Miami: S. Williams d. A. Radwanska

Thursday, March 28, 2013 /by

MIAMI, Fla.— When the first set ended 6-0 for Serena Williams, the chair umpire, following the protocols, intoned: “Miss Radwanska has requested coaching.”

Coaching?

What she ought to have requested was a cyanide pill. Or the magic racquet that Nikolay Davydenko used for every match on these same courts when he won the 2008 Miami Masters 1000 title. Or perhaps the right serving arm of someone—anyone. Perhaps Venus Williams?

That’s how awful it was, and you had to feel for poor Tomasz Wiktorowski as he dutifully trotted out, grimace twisting his face, to counsel his charge. What could he tell her, after a set in which Williams broke Radwanska at will, smacking her serves back as if they were noxious insects?

Williams also belted winners seemingly at will and rained down aces in a 6-0, 6-3 victory. By the end of the third game (Williams having served two of them) she already had 11 winners and four aces; by the end of the set, Williams had 19 winners; they included drop volleys and drive volleys, cross-court forehands and her patented, inside-out backhands.

Perhaps Wiktorowski imparted some useful wisdom, for the record will show that Radwanska punched through and managed to secure a game to tie the second set at 1-1 in the 38th minute of the match, thanks to an errant forehand hit down-the-line by Serena. The question then became, would Serena cool off and Radwanska make a match of it? That happens sometimes when one player comes out absolutely on fire, only to experience the inevitable, unavoidable decline.

Showing wise game management, Serena dialed it back a little and played more carefully in the next game, except at the service line. She had to survive a few deuces, but she pulled out four aces to take it to 2-1.

Radwanska then held with aplomb, but Serena struck hard after she held for 3-2. Radwanska hit a morale-boosting, 100 mph ace to get to 30-all, but then Serena blasted a pair of service return winners (one off each wing) to log the break for 4-2. She hit her 11th and 12th aces back-to-back in the next game and she was up, 5-2.

It couldn’t have been easy for Radwanska to keep up her resolve, but she gritted her teeth and eked out a hold, putting the match on Serena’s racquet. As expected, Serena gladly and convincingly took it, tagging her 40th winner (including aces and service unreturnables).

Stat of the match: Radwanska was only able to win 52 percent of the first serve points that she put into play.

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