Skip to content

Emma Raducanu is the US Open champion, she reached the second week of Wimbledon and her name is already known around the world. And yet, in front of just a handful of tournament staff in Cluj-Napoca’s BTarena, the 18-year-old Briton achieved two of the many elementary feats she had yet to achieve: she played three sets in a Tour level match for the first time, and she earned her first victory in a WTA tournament.

As she was on the verge of defeat, Raducanu ignored mistakes and growing frustration before raising her level in the pivotal moments to defeat Slovenian Polona Hercog 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. This is Raducanu’s first victory since her triumph in New York and she will face home favorite Ana Bogdan in the second round of the Transylvanian Open.

Afterwards, Raducanu called the victory a “big win” and said the prospect of securing his first WTA victory was on his mind. “I think the key was to try to stay mentally calm,” she said. “And I knew I wasn’t playing very well. So I just needed to keep going one stitch at a time, and I figured if I kept giving myself the chance by holding the serve, then maybe my tennis would improve and fall into place a little bit better and That’s what he did. I’m really proud of myself for the way I fought today.

Hercog is world No.124 while Raducanu is No.23, and the Slovenian much prefers clay courts. But for a long time, their game on those slow courts reflected the fact that Raducanu would have been the lowest-ranked player before the US Open.

Emma Raducanu fights in Romania to seal her first victory since the US Open |  Tennis
Raducanu strikes a blow in his three-set victory. Photograph: Melinda Nagy / Shutterstock

After Raducanu won an early break, Hercog’s quality returned to the surface. She served extremely well and slowly started to find more forehands. Under pressure for the first time as he led 4-1, Raducanu lost five straight games to obediently give up the first set.

Then Raducanu regrouped in the second set and served well. But as she reached her most important moments, she faced a breaking point at 4-4 and 5-5 with the game on the line. On the first breaking point, Raducanu entered the line. background and pulled off a winning cross backhand. On the second, she produced a surprise skid slice that died on the pitch and earned her the point.

As opportunities continually eluded Hercog, the momentum slowly shifted. The pressure Raducanu had resisted landed on the Slovenian’s shoulders as she served to stay in the set at 5-6. On his third set point, Raducanu finally succeeded. As soon as Raducanu equalized the match, she never looked back and easily sailed into the final set.

“All the games I play, I just gain experience and I feel like today’s game really matters a lot,” she said. “Because when you’re not playing great, you know you can do better. I think I’ve learned to just try to dig and I can reverse the matches. “

Then she produced an even more assertive performance in her interview, sweeping up questions in English and answering confidently in Romanian. “I feel extremely comfortable,” she said. “I feel like I’m playing at home, everyone has been so friendly and welcome, I really want to stay here. When I was in trouble I was like, ‘I don’t want to leave here’ and that got me through that.

As the new UK No.1 player moved away from her breakthrough, the new UK No.1 male player at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, when Cameron Norrie defeated Marton Fucsovics 7-6 (4), 6-1 in his first game since winning the BNP Paribas Open title earlier this month. Norrie will then face Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime as he continues his attempts to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin.

theguardian Gt

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.