PERTH (AFP) – Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska took a significant step towards achieving her dream of a maiden Grand Slam title when she broke the stranglehold Serena Williams held over her at the Hopman Cup.
The 25-year-old had never beaten the 18-time Grand Slam winner in eight meetings, but warmed up for the Australian Open with an impressive three-set win on Saturday to guide Poland to their first Hopman Cup title.
Radwanska faltered when serving for the match in the second set against world number one Williams, but steadied in the third to win 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 6-1 in just over two hours.
It was the world number five’s most impressive result in four matches in Perth and a great start to her partnership with new coach Martina Navratilova.
Radwanska only started working with the former Czech great, herself an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, in Florida after Christmas.
The pair will be reunited in Sydney this week as Radwanska rounds out her preparation for the Australian Open, starting on January 19 in Melbourne.
Radwanska, who reached the semis of last year’s Australian Open, said the breakthrough win over Williams was a timely confidence boost.
“I think wins like this always give confidence, especially before a Grand Slam,” she said.
“Every year is a different story, but I feel very well this year and I’m healthy and ready to go, I’m ready for it.
“Today was just trying to play my best tennis and be ready for the next couple of tournaments especially the Australian Open.”
Radwanska wouldn’t be drawn on whether she had closed the gap on the likes of Williams and Maria Sharapova heading into 2015.
“I think in the women’s tennis everything changes so quickly,” she said.
“Every week we have different rankings and new names also coming up and being the top 10… it’s hard to say about any gap.”
She said the Hopman Cup team competition, with four singles and four mixed doubles matches, was ideal preparation for the Australian Open.
“Practice is never the same as the match so I think this is a great tournament before the Aussie Open.”
Radwanska is due to face Cornet again in Sydney on today.