The match of the day at the 2016 Australian Open was arguably the Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova quarterfinal match. But that “rivalry” hasn’t had any steam for 12 years. As expected, Serena dispatched with Masha for the 19th time in 21 matches, including 18 in a row. The last time Sharapova beat Williams, The Incredibles was the #1 movie in the United States. So let’s see if Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-3, can fare any better. Admittedly, the last time Aga beat Serena was…never. But Radwanska won the 2015 WTA Finals (which Serena skipped) and won in Shenzhen to open 2016. Add in titles in Tianjin and Tokyo at the end of last year, all on hard court, and if there is ever a time for Aga to pull off the upset it’s now. Unlike Masha, The Ninja (as they call Aga) has a varied array of deft shots that rely as much or more on guile as force. Maybe a change of pace, similar to what Roberta Vinci did at the 2015 US Open against Serena, is what is needed to derail her. On the other hand, maybe we’re just headed to an inevitable Serena vs Vika showdown in the final.
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4 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA d. 10 Carla Suarez Navarro, 6-1 6-3