And then there were two… Agnieszka Radwanska and Venus Williams will meet on Sunday in the final of the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Venus Williams turned back the clock with a stunning come from behind victory over younger sister Serena in the semi-finals, her first victory over the defending champion in over 5 years. Aga Radwanska reached the final by avenging her two recent loses to Ekaterina Makarova with a hard fought 7-6 7-6 victory over the Russian.
Aga Radwanska came into this tournament deprived of confidence and on the brink of falling outside the top 5 in the WTA rankings for the first time since February 2012. The pole has turned things around remarkably this week in Montreal. Radwanska began her week with a tough straight sets victory over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, coming from behind in each set to snap a two match losing streak. In the third round Aga outlasted Sabine Lisicki in three topsy-turvy sets before thumping an injury hampered Victoria Azarenka in the quarter-finals. Aga was in fine form against Ekaterina Makarova during her semi-final victory on Saturday evening, the Pole hit 28 winners to just 14 unforced errors and for the second match in a row hit zero double faults. Aga’s defence was as good as ever, she frustrated Makarova throughout the match, forcing the Russian into errors she wouldn’t usually make.
Venus Williams has done things the hard way this week in Montreal. The American has been forced to three sets in four of her five matches. Venus has won three grueling matches in a row. In the third round she defeated Angelique Kerber in one of the matches of the season. Angie threw everything at Venus in the final set, but Venus kept a cool head to advance to the quarter-fianls. In her last two matches, Venus has been forced to come from a set down, overcoming negative head-to-head records to defeat Carla Suarez Navarro and then Serena Williams. On the back of her stunning results this week, Venus moves back into the top 20, and is now the second highest ranked American.
Venus Williams has a 5-3 head to head record over the world number 5; However Aga comprehensively defeated the American in their two most recent encounters. Venus Williams tried to defend her two recent loses to the Pole by saying that she ‘had just returned to the tour and was in a position to compete at a level high enough to defeat the Pole.’ Venus is certainly playing much better than she was back in 2012 when Aga’s two victories took place, however I still doubt Venus has what it takes to defeat the Pole on sunday afternoon.
Aga has reached the business end of numerous big tournaments already this season (Australian Open, Doha and Indian Wells) but on each occasion she seemingly ran out of gas and suffered some uncharacteristic loses. On this occasion, Aga should be fresh and ready to produce her best tennis when it really counts. I can’t say the same thing about Venus who must surely be running on empty after three consecutive grueling three set matches. Agnieszka will frustrate Venus, pushing her to her limits and forcing her to hit a large amount of errors.
Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska to defeat Venus Williams in straight sets