Antalaya | Raducanu wins the second pro title
Britain’s Emma Raducanu, one of the most promising players born in 2002, won the ITF Futures event in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday. She entered the tournament as the 7th seed and, remarkably, reached the final without dropping a set.
There she met Johana Markova from the Czech Republic, and did not concede a set there either, winning the title in straight sets, 6-4 6-2.
Raducanu was the dominant figure on the outdoor courts in Turkey, dropping 27 games in total and displaying her talent against three older rivals and two other teenagers.
She opened her campaign against the 17-year-old qualifier Arina Solomatina, scoring a 6-1 6-3 win in an hour and 11 minutes, the Russian serving under 50% and getting broken 5 times.
Next, 16-year-old Polina Gubina presented more of a challenge for Raducanu but while the Ukrainian fought hard, the Brit managed to break in the first set and moved ahead, 6-3 6-4, in just under two hours.
Gubina converted 3 break points from 10 opportunities, but it wasn’t enough as she herself was broken 6 times in 9 opportunities.
In the quarter-final, Raducanu was up against the 2nd seed Georgia Andreea Crăciun, who should have had no trouble with the Brit on paper, but the 7th seed was on a roll, breaking the Romanian once in the first set.
Crăciun was unable to break back and was broken twice again in the second to send Raducanu into the semi-final with some ease, 6-3 6-2., after only 70 minutes of play.
Raducanu had lost just 10 points on her own serve, never faced a break point and kept the pressure on her rival all the way.
There 6th-seeded Alena Fomina stood between Raducanu and the title match, and the Brit produced another solid performance, beating the Russian, 6-2 6-3, in an hour and 35 minutes for her second pro final.
She suffered just one break of serve and dominated on the return, breaking Fomina 5 times to control the scoreboard. No matter what the Russian tried, Raducanu had an answer.
In Sunday’s final, Raducanu took down the 4th-seeded Markova in an hour and 28 minutes for her second pro title, completing a perfect week on a high note.
Raducanu lost serve only once and she converted 4 break points out of the 6 she created to lift the trophy in style.
After turning 13, Raducanu won the first ITF junior tournament she played and reached 5 finals from the opening 7 tournaments she played at that level.
She won four back-to-back junior titles at the start of 2018, aged 15, and was a quarter-finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open.
Kicking off her pro career, Raducanu won the title at $15,000 Tiberias event in Israel in what was only her second professional main draw appearance.
Five months later, she has added another piece of silverware to her trophy cabinet after her impressive run at $15,000 Antalya event, winning all five matches in straight sets for her second pro title that moves her up 5 places to No 823 in the WTA Rankings and No 22 in Great Britain.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Jonathan Gray, seeded No 2 at the ITF event in Tunisia, saw off Alessandro Bega from Italy to win the title in straight sets, 7-6(4), 6-4 on Sunday.
The Italian stayed with the Brit in the first set to force a tiebreak, but once Gray navigated his way through it, there was only one outcome as Bega faltered to allow the Brit to serve out the match and lift the trophy.
Gray faced Mounir Ferchichi in his opener of the tournament, dominating the Tunisian in the first set and, by the second, it was clear that his opponent had a problem as he retired from the match at 6-0 1-0.
In the second round the Brit was up against Alexis Klégou from Benin, who found him a handful in the first set but fought back to take the second and then also withdrew at 6-3 1-6 3-1.
In the quarter-final Gray met Pierre Delage and, for the first time in the event, he played a full match.
The Frenchman stayed with the Brit until the very end of the first set when Gray broke to take the lead.
The second set proved much closer, as Delage held the Brit to a tiebreak where the 2nd seed prevailed, 7-5, 7-6(3), for a place in the semi-finals.
There he took on the 8th-seeded Lance-Pierre Du Toit from South Africa, who stayed toe to toe with Gray and forced a first set tiebreak in which, once again, the Brit eased through to take the lead.
In the second. Gray managed to get the break of serve needed to move into the final, 7-6(3) 6-4.
The 21-year old is ranked No 635 on the ATP list placing him at No 14 in Great Britain.