Defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska is through to her first semi-final since January after seeing off China’s Peng Shuai in straight sets at the Connecticut Open on Thursday night.
In her most promising form since reaching the Sydney final, the Pole booked a showdown with Australia’s Daria Gavrilova with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph over the eighth seed.
Under Peng’s relentless flat double-handed blows off both wings, Radwanska scrambled, angled and diced her way to a set lead, before landing a crucial break for 3-2 in the second.
With Peng serving to stay in the match, the wheels began to wobble. She fell behind three match points with a wild forehand long.
She saved one with a backhand rocketed down the line but surrendered the match two points later with a backhand sprayed wide.
“Another good match, definitely,” Radwanska said. “Like I was saying on court, I didn't really have a good record against her, so it was great to win that match.
“I think it was pretty similar, like in the first match, two very tight sets, every game pretty tight. From the beginning till the end, it was 50/50 so just very happy I could close it up in two sets again.”
The victory leveled her head-to-head record with Peng at 3-3 and marked her first win over the 31-year-old in six years.
“We played just a few months ago in [the] States, in Indian Wells. That wasn't a great match from my side,” Radwanska said. “Obviously, we’ve know each other for a long time. I kind of know what to expect.
“Definitely, [she’s a] very solid player. So I already knew I really needed to work hard over there to win every point 'cause, you know, she's not making many of the mistakes. You really need to push her to make a mistake.”
While the pace and style of shot may be different in the semi-finals, it will not be an entirely different prospect. The 23-year-old Gavrilova is hungry for her first tour title and much like Peng, will not give up a point easily. It will be the duo’s first tour meeting.
“It's nice to play someone like her, especially as she can really play good tennis,” Radwanska said. “She's smart on court. She can do everything.
“Obviously, I saw many of her matches. For sure it’s going to be an interesting one.”