Radwanska relishing semi-final clash with world No. 1 Kerber
Agniezka Radwanska is confident of defending her title
Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber had provided the world with an enthralling match in New York during the US Open final last month.
Kerber pulled off the win, but only just, claiming a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 triumph to become the first German to lift the US Open title since Steffi Graff in 1996.
Many fans here were hoping for a repeat meeting between the two players at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, but defending champion Agniezka Radwanska had other ideas, knocking Czech Pliskova out of the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 win at the Indoor Stadium last night.
It means Kerber will take on Poland's Radwanska in the semi-finals today, while Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova will battle Russian veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Kerber's meeting with Radwanska is a clash between the world No. 1 and No. 3 and will be a match of contrasts - the power of the left-handed 28-year-old German against the court craft and tennis wisdom of the 27-year-old reigning champion.
Radwanska felt that there would be more pressure on Kerber, but reiterated that anyone from the four semi-finalists could go on to claim the trophy.
Speaking after her win last night, Radwanska said: "I think here of course Kerber's No. 1 and she's going to finish No. 1.
"I think every match here is 50-50, I think everybody has the same chance.
"Of course Kerber probably has more pressure after a whole season of being No. 1, but I think, well, everyone can really go through.
"Everything is open in the semi-finals."
In a tantalising prospect, this will be the first time Radwanska will be facing Kerber this year
She said: "We didn't play this year, so that's for sure something that is always exciting.
"Well, just, for sure it will be a good challenge for me.
"I just hope I can keep it going and (I'm) just expecting a good match tomorrow."
Radwanska is a good friend of Kerber, but insisted it would not affect her game at all.
"You really have to separate those two thing on court and off court," she said.
"That's what we are doing, we're still friends, we still talk to each other and we are still in touch.
"We go on court and want to win, it doesn't matter who is on the other side of the court.
"Then we shake hands after the match and we go back to exactly the same situation (we were in) before the match."
The Pole is excited to go up against the new world No. 1.
"Kerber rose in the rankings a little bit slower and she wasn't in the top 10 that fast, she was taking her time," said Radwanska.
"But now she deserves (her status), she has been playing unbelievably this year on every surface, making it to many finals in the big events.
"So for sure now she's the No. 1 player and that's what she deserves."
RADWANSKA DIGS IN
She left it late last year, staring in the face of an anonymous exit after two opening match defeats, then dug her heels in and went on to win the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global for the first time.
It was perhaps a little less dramatic this time out, but Agnieszka Radwanska's Singapore trajectory is set on a similar path.
She lost her opening White Group match to Svetlana Kuznetsova, then bounced back to beat Garbine Muguruza, but still needed a win in last night's final group encounter against big-serving Karolina Pliskova to ensure qualification for the semi-finals.
And the 27-year-old Pole pulled it off, beating Pliskova 7-5, 6-3.
"She's definitely one of the best if not the best server on the Tour. She served brutal today, and the only thing I could do today was focused on the break-points," said Radwanska.
"I was just waiting and praying that her first serve is not going to be in, and then you have a chance on the second serve."
Pliskova has out-served all comers on the Tour this year - her 508 aces are 215 more than the second player on that list, Madison Keys.
Pliskova has hit 22 in Singapore, with six coming last night but, when it mattered most, the 24-year-old Czech stumbled and effectively gifted victory to Radwanska.
Coming from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 in the second set, Pliskova double-faulted twice to allow Radwanska to draw level and, when later presented with two seemingly routine smashes at the net, she contrived to hit both into the net.
"In both sets, I was up a break. Unfortunately, I always didn't put a good service game at that time when I was up a break. (In the) second set, I definitely played a terrible game, the worst in the match," said Pliskova.
"I just believed that (Radwanska) would miss in the close moments a little bit, but she didn't. I think she just controlled the whole match.
"In this tournament, there are eight top players and you can see that every match is close. It's always a few balls that decide it."
And when those few balls came, Radwanska was poised and ready.
"Well, I think every season gives you good experience and a couple of good lessons as well after winning the tournament (last year), but also after disappointing loses. I think every year that I come here, I'm getting more relaxed, so that's just good," she said.
"I think I'm just making really good decisions at the right moments."
Radwanska will face a tougher test in today's semi-finals where she will come up against perhaps the most consistent player on the Tour this year - world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.
And again she will be able to draw on her winning experience from 2015.
The Pole faced a red-hot Garbine Muguruza in the semi-finals last year - the Spaniard having won all three of her singles group matches, and had also qualified for the semi-finals of the doubles competition with partner Carla Suarez Navarro - and came out tops.
"Well, it's for sure a good challenge for me. I've got nothing to lose at the moment, especially going to play the best player this season. I just hope I can keep it going," said Radwanska.