Paris | Raducanu outlasts Noskova in Roland Garros debut

Emma Raducanu got a monkey off her back on Monday by fighting back from a set down to win her senior debut at the French Open against Czech teenager Linda Noskova, 6-7(4) 7-5 6-1.

"I am pretty pleased with how I was out there, physically, and I feel really good. She is pretty young but she's in great form - and qualifiers are definitely pretty dangerous... I knew that if I got through some really tough moments in the second set, it might get to her. And I think in the third set I definitely was able to keep pushing. "Eventually I was dominating more and more. Emma Raducanu

“It was an absolute battle,” Raducanu said. “I’m proud of the way I fought.

“Linda really came out there firing and as soon as I dropped my ball speed she was all over me.

“It was really challenging in the second set – I’m really proud of how I fought but all props to Linda.”

Twice, the 19-year old British No 1 trailed by a set and a break, but she dug deep to eventually take out the 2020 Junior Roland Garros singles champion.

Noskova is the youngest player in the 128 player field, aged 17, and she came through qualifying for the battle between 2 of the 9 teenagers in this year’s women’s main draw.

Question marks over Raducanu’s fitness were doused as she pulled off her 2-hour 37-minute come-back win, dominating in the final set to put away the Czech.

“Noskova, she’s pretty young, but she’s definitely powerful,” Raducanu said afterwards. “She hits the ball extremely hard. I was finding as soon as I was dropping my ball short she was all over me.

“I just thought, ‘You know, you’ve got to go out doing something’ so I started hitting the ball much better, I think, and keeping her off-balance.

“She was definitely hitting some great shots. Even on the run on her backhand wide she was hitting the line so well. But, I think, I just found a better way.


Emma Raducanu needed all her resilience to see off Linda Noskova in difficult conditions at Roland Garros

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Raducanu continues to break new ground in her fledgling career as she makes her top-level debut on the clay, producing her best win to date on the surface.

She broke serve in the first game of the match, and threatened to move into a 3-0 lead before Noskova held off 3 break points to escape with a gritty hold, and then the Czech levelled at 2-2 after a poor service game meant the Brit’s encouraging start was not reflected on the scoreboard.

Rain started to fall on a chilly Paris afternoon, and Raducanu seemed keen to go off court rather than wait court-side for a decision due to concern over her back issue.

“I was quite surprised we stayed on,” she said. “It was quite slippery at the baseline and I just wanted to be extra cautious. I didn’t want to take any risks.”

The players stayed on court, though, and play soon resumed, but it was Noskova who dealt better with the conditions and, after holding a 4-2 lead, Raducanu found herself 4-5 down as the young Czech powered her way to take the tiebreak with a flurry of winners off both wings.

“It was difficult because the balls and court were so heavy, so it wasn’t doing much,” Raducanu said. “Then, in the second and third sets, the conditions sped up a little bit, it was less windy and less rain, so it was about adapting.”

Facing a younger opponent for the first time, Raducanu found herself to be the more the experienced player, and she had to dig deep to see off the talented Noskova.

She fell behind a break behind twice in the second set, but immediately wiped out each deficit as the quality of tennis ramped up.

At 6-5, Noskova’s backhand began to break down and, after 3 set points were saved by the Czech, Raducanu levelled at the 4th opportunity with a rare and perfectly executed drop-shot.


Linda Noskova faded in the decider as Emma Raducanu played smart tennis to dominate

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Grasping the momentum, Raducanu stormed into the decider, resisting pressure on her serve at 1-1 to further deflate Noskova, who appeared to fade and could not find the same potency with her shots.

“I am pretty pleased with how I was out there, physically, and I feel really good,” Raducanu, the reigning US Open champion, added. “She is pretty young but she’s in great form – and qualifiers are definitely pretty dangerous.

“I know she’s new to the tour but, in a way, that helps if when you are brand new – you’re just swinging, you’re free, and I think she definitely was doing that.

“I knew that if I got through some really tough moments in the second set, it might get to her. And I think in the third set I definitely was able to keep pushing.

“Eventually I was dominating more and more.”

Breezing through the decider to seal a memorable victory on her first match point with a forehand winner that wrong-footed the 17-year-old, Raducanu reached the 2nd-round on her Paris debut to meet Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who caused an upset win over the Brit at Indian Wells last year.




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