IImage Source: Techno Trenz
Emma Raducanu battled back from a set down to win her senior debut at the French Open against Linda Noskova of Czech Republic.
Raducanu, the British number one, lost by a set and a break twice but battled back to win 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1 on Roland Garros clay.
“It was a total fight.” Raducanu added, “I’m proud of the way I battled.”
In the second round, the US Open champion will face Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
Raducanu, seeded 12th, won the match on her first match point with a forehand winner that caught Noskova off guard. It had the British player jumping for joy in celebration after she had come through one of her most impressive triumphs since winning the Grand Slam title in New York last year.
“Linda came out firing, and she was all on me as soon as I reduced my ball speed,” Raducanu said.
“The second set was quite difficult – I’m proud of how I fought, but all credit goes to Linda.”
Despite the slicker surface, Raducanu feels ‘physically terrific.’
While Raducanu has accomplished a lot in her short professional career, she continues to break new ground, the most recent of which is playing among the best players in the world at Roland Garros. Last month, the 19-year-old made her top-level clay debut in Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup clash against the Czech Republic, and she followed that up with strong showings in Stuttgart and Madrid.
Raducanu’s finest win on the surface so far. Not only because she battled back from a set down against a skilled opponent, but also because a back injury had “cast doubt” on her participation in the clay-court Grand Slam.
Raducanu broke service in the first game of the match and looked to be on his way to a 3-0 lead, but Noskova held off three break points for a tough hold. Noskova, who won the 2021 girls’ title at Roland Garros, leveled the match at 2-2 after a bad serve game wiped out the Briton’s promising start.
As the rain began to fall on a cool Paris afternoon, Raducanu, who was suffering from a back problem, appeared eager to leave the court rather than wait for a ruling.
“I was astonished we didn’t leave. I just wanted to be extra cautious because it was fairly slick at the start. She explained, “I didn’t want to take any chances.”
“I’m happy with how I performed physically out there, and I feel great.”
Despite the rain, the players stayed on the court, with Noskova handling the change in conditions the best. Raducanu moved from a 4-2 lead to a 5-4 deficit, and Noskova went on to win the tie-break after a flurry of goals from both wings.
“It was challenging since the balls and court were both so heavy,” Raducanu explained.
“Then the conditions sped up a little bit in the second and third sets, with less wind and rain, so it was all about adapting.”
Raducanu, a teenage sensation, will rarely play a younger opponent, especially one as skilled as Noskova this year. Raducanu’s experience ultimately told the story, as she avoided losing to a teenage qualifier, just as she had done in New York.
“She’s young, but she’s in fantastic shape – and qualifiers are always dangerous,” Raducanu added.
“I know she’s new to the tour, but it helps in a way if you’re brand new – you’re just swinging, you’re free, and I think she was doing that.”