Agnieszka Radwanska and Genie Bouchard will be facing each other all too early at the Australian Open when they battle during second-round action on Wednesday.
The problem for Bouchard–and now for Radwanska–is that the Canadian is unseeded due to both bad play and bad luck. Bouchard slumped through a significant portion of the 2015 campaign before suffering a well-documented concussion prior to fourth-round action at the U.S. Open. She played only one match the rest of the year and it resulted in a retirement in Shenzhen. The 21-year-old tuned up for Melbourne with a pair of decent showings in Shenzhen (quarters) and Hobart (runner-up). She opened on Monday by easing past Aleksandra Krunic 6-3, 6-4.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself,” Bouchard admitted. “I’ve had so much time off and experienced something I’d never experienced in my life. I’m happy that I’m able to find some kind of somewhat decent form so far, but I know I have a long road to go. My goal is really to be healthy and enjoy myself on the court, and play as well as I can. I’m just glad to be back on tour.”
A red-hot Radwanska has won three consecutive tournaments, including the year-end championship last fall. The fourth-ranked Pole triumphed in Shenzhen and extended her winning streak with a 6-2, 6-3 beatdown of Christina McHale in the Aussie Open first round.
“She’s an amazing player,” Bouchard commented. “I don’t think she’s lost in a while now, so she’s definitely going to be confident.”
Their only previous meeting came on the clay courts of Madrid in 2014, when Radwanska got the job done 7-6(3), 6-2. An inspired, nothing-t0-lose Bouchard may make this one more interesting, but she has not faced any player ranked higher than 20th since last spring. Given those circumstances, upsetting this particular opponent is too much to ask.
Pick: Radwanska in 3