6th-seeded Emma Raducanu made it into the Hana Bank Korea Open quarter-finals on Thursday with a straight-sets win over Yanina Wickmayer, while her next opponent, Magda Linette, needed 3 sets to get past Kristina Mladenovic, and top seed Jelena Ostapenko was made to work hard for her Last 8 spot by Anastasia Gasanova.
So I’m training a lot – like before the match today, I did 90 minutes on the court, and I’m just trying to get myself in good shape. And that comes, sometimes, with small niggles. At the moment, it’s something I’m just managing, but I know it’s for a greater benefit, so I’ve kind of bought into that process. I have definitely done more since starting with Dmitry [Tursunov, her coach]. Emma Raducanu
It is the 19-year old British No 1’s 3rd run to the Last 8 at a WTA tournament this year, after she produced a confident performance against Wickmayer, who is a former World No 12 and reached the semi-finals of the 2009 US Open.
She reached the 2nd-round of the 2014 Korea Open, her last tournament that season before being diagnosed with Lyme disease while, more recently, her ranking dropped to 460 .after giving birth of her first child in 2021. She is now ranked 396.
Wickmayer started out confidently against the former US Open champion, finding her first ace on a second serve, but Raducanu broke for the first time in the 5th game and, although the Belgian levelled at 3-3, the Briton moved ahead despite her serve wobbling a bit, with 3 double-faults.
She sealed the set with a couple of aces, though, and started the second strongly enough, although it took some grit, an ace and an excellent forehand for Raducanu to hold onto her advantage in the 11-minute opening game, before going up 3-0 in a flash.
A minor collapse followed when she was 4-1 up, which became 4-3 as Wickmayer fought back, in spite pf a superb backhand passing shot executed on the run, as Raducanu came under heavy pressure from the determined Belgian and every point became a battleground.
When a match point arrived in the 12th game, Wickmayer sent a shot long, and Raducanu was through to the quarters after convincingly claiming the win in an hour and 40 minutes.
“Last week I struggled a bit with my legs, just doing a lot of training and, as I said, the rest of this year is just really trying to build up physically for the next year,” she said, referring to her 2nd-round loss in Portoroz last week. “So I’m training a lot – like before the match today, I did 90 minutes on the court, and I’m just trying to get myself in good shape.
“And that comes, sometimes, with small niggles. At the moment, it’s something I’m just managing, but I know it’s for a greater benefit, so I’ve kind of bought into that process.
“I have definitely done more since starting with Dmitry [Tursunov, her coach].
“I have done a lot more hours, and that’s something he, and the other people in my team, think is quite necessary, and myself included, just getting more robust, so long matches, or matches in a row, don’t affect me.
“And, I think, also, just not trying to over-complicate things for myself, he’s helping with that because, sometimes, I enjoy doing that, thinking of worst-possible outcome, and just over-thinking it.
“So he’s also trying to help me become more easy-going.”
Raducanu’s quarter-final opponent is 3rd seed Linette from Poland, the World No 51, who beat Mladenovic, the World No 23 from France, 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2, after a gruelling 2 hours and 26 minutes on Thursday.
A win over Linette would be the first time Raducanu was won 3 matches in a single tournament since her extraordinary run to the US Open title in September 2021.
In the last match of Day 4, Ostapenko, the top seed from Latvia, edged out Russian Gasanova, 6-3 5-7 7-5, to move into the Last 8 at the Seoul Olympic Park on Thursday night.
The first set was fairly routine for Ostapenko, who then complicated her life in the second by failing to close out the match at 5-4 when leading 30-15, giving Gasanova the chance to break and, after winning 3 games in a row, the Russian levelled the match at a set apiece.
The decider proved a tight duel, in which Gasanova eventually held a match point, but Ostapenko’s greater experience prevailed at the key moment, and the Latvian rode out the match after the 2 hour 46 minute battle.
25-year old Ostapenko, who is ranked No 19 in the world, will face 17-year old Andorran lucky loser Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, ranked 186, in the quarters on Friday.
The last place in the Last 8 went to Swiss qualifier Lulu Sun, who upset 5th-seeded Varvara Gracheva from Russia, 6-4 7-6(6), where she will meet another in No 2 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.