Standing at just 1.72m and weighing 56kg, Agnieszka Radwanska
is one of the smallest players on the women's tennis tour and
plays a game to match.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a butterfly, some might
say, after witnessing her carefully-placed, lightly-hit
But the world No 4 and ASB Classic top seed comes with a big
reputation and, on the evidence of today, is the player to
beat this week.
The Pole easily dispatched 2011 champion Greta Arn, who won
passage to the main draw as a lucky loser, 6-2 6-2 as she
unloaded some of the weapons in her arsenal.
They included guile, deft touches, an unorthodox off-forehand
and an imitation of a brick wall as she gets every ball back
and works her opponent around the court.
It made for some long rallies as she slugged it out with Arn
on centre court at Stanley St but long rallies is what
Radwanska specialises in as she frustrates rather than
"I think this is my style," she said. "To be honest, I don't
really work on that, I was just born to play like that. With
my body, I can't serve 200km/h so I think I have to mix up
everything and try to do something else, not just powerful
"I really felt good on court but there were a lot of tight,
long games. The score looks easy but the match was not that
easy. I had to fight for every ball to the end of the match."
Radwanska's side of the draw has opened up with the surprise
defeats of defending champion and fourth seed Zheng Jie and
fifth seed Sorana Cirstea. She takes on Romania's Simona
Halep in tomorrow's second round, an opponent she has beaten
on both occasions they have met.
Cirstea withdrew from her first-round match with Heather
Watson today with a viral illness after losing the first set
It meant three of the tournament's eight seeds had already
departed, but Yaroslava Shvedova (6) and Mona Barthel (8)
both won their matches comfortably later in the day. Second
seed Julia Goerges is due on court tonight.
They will all be weary of Radwanska, however.
"I came here to win," Radwanska said. "Everything is good so
far. Why not take this trophy?"
- Michael Brown of APNZ