The extreme heat policy-enforced roof on Hisense Arena brought a welcome cool and it was embraced by the number five seed Agnieszka Radwanska in a clinical two set, round two romp that sent a message of intent to all in the women’s draw.
The 6-0, 7-5 stats will forever show a one-sided first set against Olga Govortsova, the merit all Radwanska’s. And to be fair the Pole was quite outstanding, her tenacity and defence forcing many an overhit from the 98th-ranked Govortsova who really did not play badly at all. It was just that her opponent was almost flawless in resolve and execution.
“I am very, very happy to come back in the second set and win in two sets, conditions were very hot even under the roof. It was a really good match,” she said, an ice bath and the third series of the TV drama ‘Revenge’ apparently on the cards for tonight.
Maybe it was getting even that she had in mind from the off, Govortsova winning their last encounter two years ago shortly after Radwanska had made the number two world ranking, the only time she has beaten the Pole in their four meetings.
It all began very quickly, the opening set done in 24 minutes. Any 6-0 first set score in women’s tennis presents a speedy dilemma to the losing player, the necessity to find an alternate and better route as soon as possible, imperative. Govortsova accordingly opted for the ‘hit it harder on every point' approach as the second chapter began.
Fortuitously the 24-year-old Radwanska chose the start of the second set to let her intensity slip ever so slightly and Govortsova, a year her senior, pounced. A two love lead deserved but draining, the winners all hers and the errors too.
Gradually Radwanska clawed back to 4-4, more than a touch of Monica Seles in her feisty and inevitable retrieving, the low hit double backhand efficient and demoralising always.
Govortsova has been around some time, her 27 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments exceeded though by the Pole’s 31 in a row. It was indicative of this contest, Radwanska just doing everything that little bit better.
From a distance she looked small in height, her 1.73m much distorted by her taller, upright opponent - but Radwanska packs a punch without a doubt and will be threat to all this fortnight.
You suspected the break of serve by Radwanska at 5-5 would be pivotal and she held her own serve easily to clinch the final set minutes later.
Govortsova left the court with a similar speed at which she played but she has little to be concerned about.
It was just that her opponent today, was very, very good.