She has only won the 2018 Mallorca Open title since turning pro in nearly ten years as well as 3 doubles titles, but Tatjana Maria from Germany knows what it takes to make a mark on the WTA professional tour and she clearly did that at the opening round at this year's US Open, against her veteran opponent Aga Radwanska.
The Polish icon had jumped easily to a 2-0 lead in the first set against the German, giving herself the confidence to continue the trek on to getting a victory. But it was Radwanska who crazily didn't have that large mental boost as Maria's serves were 'on point' and in a few minutes, it seems like the German came on with pounding aggression that levelled the games at 2-all and then jumped to a 5-2 lead.
Radwanska showed that she was trying to climb up the game level and did so winning one more against Maria but that was all she could acquire in the set, losing 3-6. It might have been the boiling New York City heat or the poor preparation of match practice and play from the Pole that didn't help for her success in this round.
Maria surely wasn't a stranger to her both having played four times together and twice in a major, but it wasn't Radwanska's day indeed. Maria's slices and spins were on her menu of ways to defeat the Pole along with some nicely placed lobs.
Radwanska fought back with determination but when Maria climbed up to a 4-1 lead in the last set, the recipe was blending for a nice victory for the German of which the Polish veteran couldn't control. Radwanska had explained her physical condition saying "I felt terrible.
I think I never felt that bad this year...dizzy, heavy legs, what can I say? It was a terrible match". The Pole admitted that she lacked sufficient practice times and wins coming into the match "To be honest I was practising whenever I had a court.
And I didn't really have a court myself, I wasn't seeded, so I didn't have much choice". But on the other hand, her opponent Maria, did well at the Western and Southern at Cincinnati making precious strategies against Sloane Stephens and just having more tournament plays might have been the entree for Maria's win preparedness.
The next game Radwanska had to call for a trainer who administered salt packets checking her pulse and blood pressure but it wasn't a good look and in a bit, over an hour the German had taken the opener feeling confident she can continue on well at the Open.
Maria perhaps can see the light at the end of the tunnel and she knows that victory of rounds and maybe a tournament might be waiting for her.