Nottingham | Raducanu romps into quarters

Emma Raducanu reached her first grass-court quarter-final at WTA Tour level at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham on Thursday with another impressive display easing her past notorious giant-killer Daria Snigur, while fellow Brit Fran Jones’ 2nd-round match with Ashlyn Krueger was left hanging overnight when she was serving for match with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-5, 30-30 lead, and rain set in.

It was a really tricky one in the conditions, and I’m just very happy with how I dealt with all the circumstances. Daria’s a really difficult opponent, so it is actually a really good achievement for me to have come through that one... Especially what I’ve realised, playing the top opponents like Iga [Swiatek] or Aryna [Sabalenka], you need a first serve because they’re very comfortable holding serve. If you don’t have one yourself, then it’s very difficult. Emma Raducanu

“It was an extremely tricky match,” Raducanu said in her on-court interview. “Honestly, I knew from before came on that I needed to be on it today, because Daria is a really good grass-court player.

“She won junior Wimbledon and I played with her in the juniors growing up. I know how tricky she can be to play, and how unorthodox she is. It’s really difficult, but I’m happy with how I managed it, especially in the beginning, and came through.”

Snigur started this tournament more than 100 places above Raducanu in the WTA Rankings, but the 2021 US Open champion is now set to rise from No 209 to No 183 following her run to the quarter-finals, where she could meet Jones for a place in the semi-final.

A win in the quarters could result in a further jump of another 19 spots to No 164 for Raducanu.

Having skipped the French Open, the start of the grass court season was seen as a make-or-break campaign for Raducanu and, so far, it has been panning out well, having beaten Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara in the 1st round, and following up with a straight sets win over the World No 127, 22-year old Snigur.


In front of a packed home crowd, Emma Raducanu served at 72% to beat Daria Snigur in Nottingham

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA

Snigur’s maiden victory at the top level memorably came against Simona Halep at the 2022 US Open, while she sank defending champion Beatriz Haddad Maia from Brazil in Nottingham last year, before upsetting compatriot Marta Kostyuk, ranked 110 places higher than her, in the 1st-round this time round.

Against Snigur, Raducanu fired 11 aces and won 72% of her first serve points, while saving 7 of 8 break points as she blitzed past the Ukrainian, 6-2 6-2, in 79 minutes.

In front of a home crowd, though, the 21-year old Brit got off to a nightmare start as she was broken in game 2, but she won the next 6 to take the opener, before breaking twice in the second set and romping to the finish line.

Although Snigur’s flat strikes were intermittently lethal off the ground as she fired 17 winners, she was also more error-prone than Raducanu, committing 20 unforced errors to the home player’s 16.

“I would say Nottingham is a special place in my career,” Raducanu said earlier this week. “I am fond of it because it’s where everything started, my first WTA match, then I played the 100k the week after, and that is where I got my Wimbledon wild-card, because I didn’t get it in the first announcement.

“I had to win two matches in the 100k and then I got the wild-card and made 4th round at Wimbledon. So it is a very special place, if I hadn’t got that wild-card, who knows what would have happened, or if the US would have happened.

“So it is a compilation of small moments where you don’t know what is going to happen. It is obviously different coming back here having won the US Open than before.”

Later she said that her matches against Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka made her realise how important it was to have a strong first serve, but her second delivery won her only 9-of-22 points played on Thursday.

“It was a really tricky one in the conditions, and I’m just very happy with how I dealt with all the circumstances,” Raducanu said after her win. “Daria’s a really difficult opponent, so it is actually a really good achievement for me to have come through that one.

“I’m pleased, for sure, serving it out the first time. I served really well throughout the whole match, and it did make the match a bit easier.

“If I had just a second serve, it would have just been a nightmare to play her. I’ve been working on every part of my game but, obviously, the serve is very important. It’s just repetition and I’m pleased to see the rewards in competition.

“Especially what I’ve realised, playing the top opponents like Iga [Swiatek] or Aryna [Sabalenka], you need a first serve because they’re very comfortable holding serve. If you don’t have one yourself, then it’s very difficult.”

On Friday, Raducanu will be hoping to deliver another good serving performance to reach her first semi-final of the year.


Fran Jones came from behind in the 3rd set against Ashlyn Krueger and was serving for the match when rain set at the Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre on Thursday

© Nathan Stirk/Getty Images for LTA

In the only other match to finish before the weather stoppage, No 5 seed Magdalena Frech of Poland beat Germany’s Tatjana Maria, 3-6 6-3 6-1.

The inclement weather cancelled the 2nd-round match between top seed Ons Jabeur from Tunisia and Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic, who now will play on Friday before the winner faces Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals later in the day.




Previous

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com