Polish ground has never been friendly to Agnieszka Radwanska, WTA’s No. 8, as she’s never won a trophy in her homeland. Can Katowice do the trick for Poland’s best player? Katowice Open started on Monday, April 6th, at Spodek Arena.
On Saturday afternoon, Katowice’s President Marcin Krupa and Urszula Radwanska, Polish No. 2, took part in a draw ceremony to create a ladder of the matches for this year’s tournament finals. Urszula will take on a qualifier in the first round on 16:00 on Tuesday, while her older sister, Agnieszka, will face Yanina Wickmayer from Belgium at 20:15 same day.
Here is a list of all matches in the first round of the main event:
A. Radwanska (POL) vs. Y. Wickmayer (BEL)
Qualifier vs. K. Koukalova (CZE)
V. Zvonareva (RUS) vs.  K. Knapp (ITA)
C. Giorgi (ITA) vs. D. Allertova (CZE)
A. Friedsam (GER) vs. Qualifier
U. Radwanska (POL) vs. Qualifier
Qualifier vs.  K. Kanepi (EST)
K. Flipkens (BEL) vs. A. Beck (GER)
M. Niculescu (ROU) vs. K. Mladenovic (FRA)
T. Smitkova (CZE) vs. C. Witthoeft (GER)
A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs.  M. Rybarikova (SVK)
A. Schmiedlova (SVK) vs. [WC] O. Dodin (FRA)
M. Torró-Flor (ESP) vs. K. Siniakova (CZE)
P. Hercog (SLO) vs. M. Doi (JPN)
K. Bertens (NED) vs.  A. Cornet (FRA)
2015 was meant to be yet another breakthrough year for the 26 year old Radwanska: she started her cooperation with Martina Navratilova and stated that her main goal was to win her first Grand Slam title. Things are not going very well though, as she’s lost in the fourth round in the Australian Open (to V. Williams) and didn’t get past the quarter-final stage of any tournament she’s attended. A transition from an all-court defence and technique master to a strong-hitting runner must not be easy to Radwanska, but both experts and members of her team (especially Navratilova) claim that’s the only way Poland’s best tennis player ever could win a major.
Could it be that Katowice will be the right place for Radwanska’s renaissance? She’s never won in Poland before, in February, when she played in her hometown Krakow, she struggled and lost both matches against Russia in the Fed Cup. On the other hand – if not now, then when? April marks the beginning of the clay court season, and after that the tennis world turns its eyes to the green grass of Wimbledon, Radwanska’s favorite and most successful tournament.
Katowice Open is the largest WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) event in Poland with total prize money of 250.000$. Apart from Radwanska, the draw doesn’t include any other top 10 player but there are still some interesting names to watch: last year’s champion Alize Cornet, Francesca Schiavone (2010 French Open champion), Kaia Kanepi, Urszula Radwanska, Kirsten Flipkens (former Wimbledon semi-finalist), or Yanina Wickmayer (former top-15 player). Julia Goerges, Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Larsson have withdrawn from the tournament due to injuries.
Last year, the tournament gathered over 7.000 fans to see the final in Spodek Arena and 2015 is meant to be no different. For the first time, Katowice Open will be played on two courts: Main Court will take place in Spodek Arena, and Court No. 1 will be located in the recently-opened ICC (International Conference Center) nearby.
The final is scheduled on Sunday, April 12th.