Poland will host Russia at the 15,000 seat capacity Krakow Arena in its first world group appearance since 1991. Agnieszka Radwanska has single handedly dragged her country from the Europe/Africa zone 1 group play offs in 2013 into the world group in 2015. Aga now has a terrific opportunity to shine in front of a capacity crowd against a Russian side spearheaded by world number 2 Maria Sharapova. Aga will look to kickstart the tie with a victory for Poland when she takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova in Saturday’s opening rubber.
Aga’s Australian Summer was ultimately a disappointment as she slumped to yet another relatively early exit at a Grand Slam. Aga’s 3-6 6-2 1-6 loss to a resurgent Venus Williams was another blunt reminder that the Pole still has a lot to work on if she is ever to be a legitimate Grand Slam contender. The summer started off well for Aga, as she led Poland to its first ever Hopman Cup title alongside Jerzy Janowicz. Aga seems to really relish the opportunity to play for nation and will be bolstered by the support of a massive home crowd.
Svetlana Kuznetsova has made a disappointing start to her 2015 campaign. The veteran has succumbed to three consecutive first round exits including a straight sets loss to Caroline Garcia in the opening round of the Australian Open. However Svetlana will enter this match with confidence given her commanding head to head record over Aga.
Kuznetsova has an incredibly dominant 10-4 record over Aga. However it was the Pole who emerged victorious in their most recent encounter, an extremely hard fought 6-3 4-6 7-6 victory in Madrid last year. That victory broke a string of six consecutive losses to the Russian. These two have met just twice since 2012 so the head to head is a little unreliable, the two are at very different stages of their careers at the moment and I would think Aga should be winning this match.
It’s hard to see Kuznetsova pulling off such a massive victory after such a terrible start to the season, whilst it’s hard to see Aga letting this opportunity slip by. Aga needs to step up and dictate play, if she does that she should win rather comfortably. It’s not every day one gets to play in a packed stadium in their hometown, Aga will make the most of it.
Prediction: Aga Radwanska to defeat Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2 sets