Radwanska making a statement

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Australia is home to some of the most diverse cuisines in the world yet has no national dish.

But for a while Saturday at the Australian Open, the flavor of the day was polish. And no, we're not talking pierogi and golabki -- but rather Agnieszka Radwanska.

The No. 6 seed here this year, Radwanska doesn't garner the universal spotlight in the manner Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard do, but when next Saturday rolls around, her approval rating might very well take a giant leap.

On Saturday, Radwanska rolled past Varvara Lepchenko in another thorough performance, beating the American 6-0, 7-5 to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open.

"So far, I think I can't complain about anything," Radwanska said. "I really had great three matches, three short matches. So I'm fresh. Didn't spend much time on the court, which is good. Well, everything was working so far, so hopefully I can still play the same tennis on the same level."

This past December, Radwanska hired Martina Navratilova, the latest in the surge of tennis' super coaches, to help the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up take the next step in her career.

Although Lepchenko played inspired ball down the stretch, Radwanska has played the part of a potential major champion. Through three matches, Radwanska has dropped a total of nine games -- and this included closing out three sets at love.

"Well, I think it's a lot of things, but on this level, I think it's just really small details that are very important," Radwanska said of Navratilova. "Of course, everybody can play great tennis, but if you want to win a match or Grand Slam, you really have to do everything right. That's what we're working on -- just to focus on very important things and talking on and off the court, and just to figure out everything just to win those seven matches in a row."

Next up for Radwanska is Venus Williams, who won 11 of her last 14 games against Camila Giorgi on Saturday in a three-set, come-from-behind win.

And though Williams has seemingly grown younger with age in the past few months on the tennis court, she is going to need to figure out how to wrangle some tough points off Radwanska.

"Venus is going to need an outstanding day on her first serve," Brad Gilbert said on the ESPN2 telecast. "She's not going to be able to come into net like she wants. She's going to need to manager her second serve and forehand."

This is the kind of match in which Navratilova's tactical advice might make dividends. She understands the need to keep players of Venus' ilk off balance.

"Well, I think the last match against Venus was in the final in Montreal," Radwanska said. "So, well, I think playing her is always great challenge. I think she is still playing great tennis even though she's a bit older. She's still really fit and playing a high level. I think it's going to be another good match."

Raonic maintains dominance

Hard to imagine anyone wants a piece of Milos Raonic. Already with one of the most potent serves the game has ever seen, the cool Canadian is on fire in Australia -- and it has nothing to do with the courtside temperature. Raonic slammed his way past Benjamin Becker in three swift sets, netting 22 aces along the way.

Raonic, who's won all nine of his sets, is into at least the fourth round of a major for fourth time. With 46 winners and only 19 unforced errors, Raonic seems like a player poised to hoist the Norman Brookes trophy in just over a week's time.

"I have a much better understanding when things aren't going the way I'd like how to sort of turn them around, what I need to focus on," Raonic said after beating Becker. "A lot of those things give me, I guess, a sense of peace, even if things aren't going as planned. I just sort of try to carry on from there."

Raonic, just 24 years old, is one of the young guns still alive here in Australia, along with Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.

Let's play two

Ernie Banks was one of most adored, enthusiastic players who ever played baseball. And his "let's play two" catchphrase is one of the most famous sayings ever. And on the heels of his death Friday, we couldn't help but harken back to Tim Smyczek's magnanimous decision to let Rafael Nadal "play two" first serves the other night during a crucial stage in their five-set clash.

Days after, at least one player was still applauding Smyczek's sportsmanship.

"I think that's something that people should talk about," world No. 1 Novak Djokovic said. "This is something that is not very common in the sport today, you know, where media and people generally emphasize on the rivalries, feisty, aggressive kind of approach to matches. It's nice to have something that is greater than sport itself, you know, the sportsmanship and fair play.

Remember, Stan is still the man

We'd forgive you if you forgot who the defending Aussie Open men's champ is. With all the drama the past couple of days, who's really thinking about Stan Wawrinka?

For one, Stan Wawrinka, who steamrolled Jarkko Nieminen 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in less than two hours.

Wawrinka won his ninth straight match Down Under and is a perfect 7-0 on the season.

"It was a really good match from me today," Wawrinka said. "I was playing great. Tried to be more aggressive than normal. Did few mistake at the beginning. I was a little bit hesitating with my game. But in general I think was a strong match."

Wawrinka, who faces Guillermo Garcia-Lopez next, is on course to play Kei Nishikori in the quarterfinals.

Et cetera

Garcia Lopez cruised past Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 ... After a five-set, 3-hour, 14-minute opener, Felciano Lopez has tuned up his game in a big way. On Saturday, he thwarted former Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz in three sets to reach the fourth round ... Victoria Azarenka beat down Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-4, 6-4