Image Source: Techno Trenz
Emma Raducanu battled back from a set down to defeat Czech schoolgirl Linda Noskova in her senior debut at the French Open.
Raducanu, the British number one, was down 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 war.” Raducanu stated, “I’m proud of how I fought.”
In the second round, the US Open winner will face Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Raducanu, who was seeded 12th, won on her first match point with a forehand winner that caught Noskova, 17, off guard. After coming through one of her best victories since winning the Grand Slam title in New York last year, it had the Briton jumping for pleasure in celebration.
“Linda came out firing, and she was all over me as soon as I slowed down my ball speed,” Raducanu said.
“The second set was extremely difficult – I’m proud of how I fought, but Linda deserves all the credit.”
Despite his caution about the slicker surface, Raducanu feels “physically excellent.”
While Raducanu has accomplished a great deal in her brief professional career, she continues to break new ground, the most recent of which being her participation in Roland Garros alongside the best players in the world. Last month, the 19-year-old made her top-level clay-court debut in Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup game against the Czech Republic, and she followed that up with strong showings in Stuttgart and Madrid.
On the surface, this was Raducanu’s best victory. Not only because she battled back from a set down against a good 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 before Noskova held off three break points for a tenacious hold. After a poor service game, Noskova, who won the 2021 girls’ title at Roland Garros, leveled the match at 2-2.
As rain began to fall on a chilly Paris afternoon, Raducanu appeared eager to leave the court rather than wait for a ruling because of her back problem.
“I’m astonished we’re still here. I just wanted to be extra cautious because it was fairly slick at the start. She explained, “I didn’t want to risk anything.”
“I’m happy with how I did physically out there, and I’m in great shape.”
The players stayed on the court despite the rain, and it was Noskova who handled the change in weather the best. Raducanu fell behind 5-4 after a flurry of goals from both wings, and Noskova won the tie-break.
“It was challenging since the balls and court were 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 adjusting.”
Raducanu, who rose to prominence as a teen 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 young qualifier – just like she was in New York – by avoiding losing to a juvenile qualifier.
“She’s young, but she’s in terrific shape,” Raducanu remarked.
“I know she’s new to the tour, but I think it helps if you’re new – you’re just swinging, you’re free, and I think she was doing that.”
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