Monday, 25 June 2012

Punters' Wimbledon guide - Agnieszka Radwanska

Agnieszka Radwanska has been the biggest recent mover at the top of the WTA rankings. The world number three has been on the edge of the elite group of players for some time – she ended 2008 ranked 10th - but she has broken through in the last few months and is now a serious challenger for majors.

The Pole’s win at San Diego last August was her first title for more than three years, but she has won five more since, including Premier Mandatory victories at Tokyo, Beijing and Miami. Whether she can transfer this form to majors is the big question that is asked of so many players who find the ingredient for consistently beating the best.

The answer should be yes. Radwanska has something special about the way she sets up opponents during rallies, a throwback to a bygone era when guile and use of angles were crucial. She is one of the best scramblers around but does not lack the power necessary nowadays. Her rapidly shrinking Betfair Tennis odds reflect her standing in the women’s game.

A double slam winner as a junior (including at Wimbledon), Radwanska looked set for a distinguished career at SW19. She reached the last 16 in her maiden slam appearance in 2006and followed up with quarter final runs in 2008 and 2009. A second round exit last year was a major disappointment, as she certainly has the game to prosper on grass.

Increased confidence has been a key factor in Radwanska’s improvement over the past year and a big win over a main rival will be the last piece in the jigsaw. Punters who bet on Wimbledon will note that she has won just five of her meetings against Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. The last four of Wimbledon would be the best place to improve that record.

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