Melbourne: Experienced fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska overpowered unheralded Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in straight sets to reach her fourth consecutive Australian Open quarter-final on Monday. The Pole saw off some early resistance to stamp her authority on the match and win 6-1, 6-3 in 77 minutes to set up a last-eight clash with defending champion Victoria Azarenka. (Click here for latest on Australian Open)
In beating Muguruza, the 24-year-old made her fourth consecutive Australian Open quarter-final, and fifth overall at Melbourne Park, although she has never gone further.
"I'm very happy I could play my best tennis, I knew I had to be 100 percent tonight," she said, adding that she was looking forward to meeting Azarenka on Wednesday. "It's the quarter-finals, I'm playing great at these championships and I have nothing to lose." (Azarenka storms into quarters | Halep floors Jankovic)
It was a learning experience for the 20-year-old Muguruza, who beat former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the last round and has been in stellar early-season form. (Nadal beats Nishikori in pre-quarters | Murray tested)
She won her first WTA title with victory over Czech Klara Zakopalova at this month's Hobart International, an achievement even more impressive in that she was a qualifier. It saw her sprint up the rankings to a career-best 38 after she recovered from right ankle surgery following Wimbledon that sidelined her for the rest of the year.
Radwanska, in her 31st Grand Slam to Muguruza's fifth, got the match underway on a cool evening at Rod Laver Arena by holding serve when the Spaniard netted after a series of baseline rallies. Muguruza held and the Pole had to battle hard to hold her own serve in the next game, saving four break points in a tense encounter with both players hitting plenty of winners. (Related: Sharapova knocked out | Who is Sharapova?)
There was little between them at that stage as they pounded balls over the net, with Radwanska finally getting a 3-1 lead on her fourth break point with a net volley. The break deflated Muguruza, who was broken to love on her next service game as the Pole raced to a 5-1 lead and comfortably served out the set in 44 minutes.
The Spaniard won her first game in six on her opening serve in the second set to gain some confidence, but she was soon broken down by Radwanska who went 3-1 in front. The Pole held serve, saving two break points in a last-ditch effort by Muguruza, and broke again in the ninth game to take the match.