SONY OPEN TENNIS
Defending Champ Radwanska Tops Stephens; Jankovic Advances
Reigning Sony Open Tennis champion Agnieszka Radwanska defeated 16th-seeded American Sloane Stephens 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 to move into the quarterfinals in Miami on Monday.
Radwanska won 50 percent of her return points to break Stephens six times from nine opportunities. The fourth seed claimed victory in one hour and 39 minutes to improve to 2-0 versus Stephens.
“I think I was a little bit tight in the first set and she really started very good,” said Radwanska. “I think I was just too defensive. I couldn't do much in the first set, but then I think I started to play much better point by point… She's a very good, young player and always difficult to play with. I remember our match from last year [in Cincinnati]. I won 6 4 in the third, so I knew it wouldn't be easy today.”
The Pole is looking to become the 10th WTA player to retain the title at Crandon Park, with Serena Williams being the latest to achieve the feat in 2008. Radwanska has opened this season with a 22-4 record, picking up trophies in Auckland (d. Wickmayer) and Sydney (d. Cibulkova). She will face Kirsten Flipkens next.
The 30th-seeded Belgian continued her run to reach the last eight, overcoming wild card Ajla Tomljanovic 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 17 minutes. Flipkens is ranked a career-high No. 28 in the WTA Rankings and is enjoying her best season start, moving through to her fourth quarterfinal in 2013. She also appeared in the fourth round of a major tournament for the first time at the Australian Open.
Fifteenth seed Roberta Vinci overcame a slow start to beat No. 32 seed Alize Cornet 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. Both players broke serve six times in the two hour and 13 minute contest. For a place in the semifinals, Vinci will meet 2008 finalist Jelena Jankovic. The 22nd seed dismissed 28th seed Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-4, winning 70 percent of her second serve points.
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