Having come through the qualifying rounds, she has since claimed the scalps of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, fourth seed Simona Halep and sent Vinci packing to earn a spot in her first career semi-final.
In fact coming into the tournament this week, she had just six WTA main draw wins but 2016 has been an outstanding year for her with ten in 2016 alone, including her matches here in her main draw debut in Stuttgart.
It’s a great story following on the heels of the coming-good of the quietly efficient Angelique Kerber, now enjoying the trappings of her own success last year in Stuttgart, as well as of course carrying off the Australian Open crown.
Siegemund was fearless coming out of the blocks, as Vinci was left standing. Looking to have picked up a slight twinge, the Italian found it hard to stay on terms with the qualifier as she swept through the first set. It proved to be a little more competitive in the second set, but there was no sign of nerves at all as the German was broken early in the second set, coming back at Vinci for two successive breaks of her own, the second one sealing a little piece of history for her.
She said, after the match: “Everyday is a little bit different for me and one day I can enjoy it more, and the other day I sat in the zone. I mean it’s a tough level out there and it’s hard to play great tennis on one side, and then also enjoy on the other.
“It’s a fine line between losing the concentration and enjoying. Yesterday I was really much in the zone and I couldn’t enjoy that much. I was already with my thoughts on today’s match a lot and all that, which is ok, but today I can enjoy it much more, which is a nice feeling, if you’re able to let go for a couple of hours and not think about the next.”
The boot was on the other foot for Pliskova as it was her turn to face up to a fairly demoralising deficit in a head to head. Her additional to a one-sided score over Ana Ivanovic was reversed as top seed Radwanska kept her nerve to come out the better of three successive breaks of serve at the start of the match, before breaking the heavily strapped Czech for the first set.
She started the second set a little more competitively, refusing to let Radwanska run away with an opening break, coming back at the Pole and then staying in contention with her, nudging ahead as Radwanska perhaps lapsed just a little, before the pair embarked on some battle royals. Pliskova fought to save a mere two break points before bringing up seven chances to break Radwanska for a 6-5 lead, before finally frustration got the better of her, as her racquet met it’s maker at the end of the set.
Heading into the tie-break we were treated to a roller-coaster as Radwanska finally nailed the win, much to her relief on her fourth match point.
Hard to believe but the two have actually met, back in 2006 in a $25K in what turned out to be a three-setter. Since then it is fair to say that their careers have taken different turns. There is not much of a sense of giddiness from Siegemund, who told us that she had spent her off-season actually completing her Sports Psychology Bachelor thesis, all about Choking Under Pressure (yes, really).
Having had to remind Radwanska of that first win, she acknowledged that whilst it is always a new day, mew match, there are always challenges in facing someone riding the crest of a wave.
“Did I win?” she asked first, as in fairness it was 10 years ago. “Cool – that’s a good record” she said, laughing.
She continued: “Well actually I had a chance a couple of times to watch her here. Playing very aggressive tennis, you can see that she’s playing tennis with nothing to lose, beating some big names, she’s not scared at all, Just going and playing her best tennis. For sure I need to be careful tomorrow, because she been on fire.”
While the home crowd will wish that the fairy tale continues for Siegemund, the look of relief that Radwanska came through a tough match will probably not augur well for the German. Radwanska looks more and more comfortable on this surface, having equalled her best performance in Stuttgart.
Prediction: Radwanska in three sets.
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