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Agnieszka Radwanska survives Kuznetsova clash at the Mutua Madrid Open, Wozniacki and Jankovic fall

Hannah Wilks in News 8 May 2014
Agnieszka Radwanska (Getty Images)

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska survived a tough test against Svetlana Kuznetsova, coming back from the brink of defeat to move into the third round while Caroline Wozniacki fell to Roberta Vinci, suffering from knee pain.

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Radwanska trailed Kuznetsova 3-10 in their overall head-to-head and had last beaten her in 2008, while Kuznetsova came in to the Mutua Madrid Open in strong form, having defeated Simona Halep in Stuttgart to reach the quarterfinals and making a run to the final in Oeiras. 
The world no. 3 raced to a 4-0 lead but Kuznetsova began to find her range and while Radwanska saved one break point with a gorgeous backhand down the line winner, Kuznetsova set up another with a classic slide into a drop shot and a delicate volley for a winner. Breaking back, Kuznetsova held for 2-5 but Radwanska served out the first set.

Radwanska took the lead in the second set too, 3-2 and serving but Kuznetsova won eight of the next ten games to lead 4-1 in the third before it was Radwanska’s turn to surge back, eventually taking the match to a third-set tiebreak. After an initial exchange of minibreaks, an uncharacteristic Radwanska error gave Kuznetsova a 4-2 lead and as Radwanska put a second serve return in the net, Kuznetsova had three match points at 6-3.

Radwanska saved the first with a service winner but Kuznetsova had a look at a soft second serve on the second, only to slam the return into the net. Her third match point was on her serve and Kuznetsova delivered an excellent serve, only to bury a routine backhand in the net with the match on her racquet. 

Back to 6-6, a well-placed backhand down the line from Radwanska got the error from Kuznetsova and the Pole didn’t hesitate, closing out the match on her first opportunity. 

‘I think until you shake hands, you're still in it,’ Radwanska said. ‘Of course being down 6-3 in the tiebreak is never a great situation, especially with her serving twice. But in tennis anything can happen. You can always turn around the match. Fighting until the end is the most important thing. That's what I was trying to do today, and it worked. 
‘I'm very, very happy that I could win a really great match. I knew it was going to be a really tough one. She has been playing really good tennis on clay. It was a great win for me. Hopefully, I can play good tennis again tomorrow.’

Radwanska will meet Roberta Vinci in the third round after the Italian defeated Caroline Wozniacki. It was Wozniacki’s left wrist which was reported to be the problem coming into the Mutua Madrid Open but the former finalist struggled with pain in her left knee during a 3-6, 3-6 defeat to Vinci.

Vinci has struggled for wins so far in 2014 but she was on fine form today and broke Wozniacki immediately. The Dane, after a coaching visit from father Piotr, got to 0-40 on Vinci’s serve before the Italian dug herself out of trouble in a multiple-deuce game that saw Wozniacki unable to break despite having nine break points.

Wozniacki was attended by the trainer for her knee after that game and from that point on it was all Vinci, with the Italian quickly recovering the initial break she gave up in the second set and employing all her multitude of tricky slices, drop shots and changes of pace and spin to keep Wozniacki lunging on her injured knee. 

Sabine Lisicki will play Simona Halep in the third round after the German beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-3, 6-4, perhaps showing signs of returning to form after an injury-hit and fairly dismal start to 2014. 

Completing the third round, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated sixth seed Jelena Jankovic 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3) in a high-quality, late-night match at the Caja Magica. Pavlyuchenkova will have to recover quickly before facing Ana Ivanovic in the next round. 

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Agnieszka Radwanska survives Kuznetsova clash at the Mutua Madrid Open, Wozniacki and Jankovic fall

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska came back from the brink against Svetlana Kuznetsova while Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic lost at the Mutua Madrid Open

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