Radwanska, Petkovic advance to semis at Carlsbad

August 5, 2011 08:21 PM
Radwanska won her 8th career title.
No. 2 Andrea Petkovic had little trouble in dismissing 18-year-old American Sloane Stephens.

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) - Third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland overcame a first-set drubbing and a shoulder injury to beat eighth-seeded Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 Friday in the quarterfinals at the Mercury Insurance Open.

Radwanska advanced to her second semifinal this season after she seemed on the verge of getting run off the court by Hantuchova.

Radwanska, the runner-up in this event last year, will face No. 2 seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany, who rolled over unseeded American teenager Sloane Stephens, 6-2, 6-1.

With the score tied at 2-all in the first set, Petkovic won nine consecutive games before Stephens finally took a game at 5-0 in the second set. The overmatched 18-year-old flashed a large smile as she jokingly raised both arms and shook them triumphantly.

After winning just nine points in the first set, Radwanska called for a WTA trainer. The right-handed Radwanska is suffering from a nerve issue in her right shoulder that causes some difficulty, especially with her serve.

After receiving treatment, Radwanska's game improved considerably in the second set.

"After you lose 6-love, you really have nothing to lose," she said. "So, I start to play more aggressive. In my mind, it was just to play, win some games. I just feel more relaxed."

Radwanska said she considered pulling out after the first set because her shoulder was "sore."

"But then I had some chances, so I said, 'OK, a couple of more games,'" Radwanska said.

She broke her Slovakian opponent in the 10th game, for the third time in the set, when she ripped a backhand winner on a second serve to take the second set.

The players, doubles partners who won at Miami this season, were on serve in the third set until they traded breaks to get to 4-all. After Radwanska held serve, she finished it off on her first match point when Hantuchova hit a backhand crosscourt shot wide.

Radwanska placed the odds of her being able to play in the semifinals at "50-50."

Petkovic, 23, used her vast experience to overpower her younger opponent, who quickly fell out of the match.

"I felt like in the beginning, the first maybe six games, it was a really tough battle," Petkovic said. "I think after I made the (service) break for 4-2, it was too much, just with the inexperience."

Although the match was lopsided, Petkovic believes she received some value from her time on the court.

"I think it's very important when you play these young players to just sort of show who's the boss on the court," she said. "You keep up the intensity for every point."