Emma Raducanu: British No 1 battles through to the second round on her Roland Garros debut

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Emma Raducanu
Source: Skysports

Emma Raducanu: On Monday, Romanian Emma Raducanu fought back to defeat Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1 in the first round of the French Open.

The US Open champion broke serve twice in the first set, but the 17-year-old forced a tie-break.

Raducanu fought back to grab the second set before winning the deciding set to go to the second round in her main draw debut in Paris.

 

“I mean it was an absolute battle,” said Raducanu, who will play Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus next. “I have to say Linda is playing some amazing tennis and she really came out there firing.

“As soon as I dropped my ball speed, she was all over me and killing me from the end of the first set. So, it was definitely really challenging in the second set to hold on and keep holding my serve and break back a couple of times.

“I am really proud of the way I fought but all props to Linda as she played an amazing match.

“Honestly, I have no expectations of myself. You know I am really happy to be able to be competing here after Rome.

“I really fought hard to be here in this second round and I am looking forward to trying to stay as long as possible.”

Raducanu believed she was fit to compete despite withdrawing from the Italian Open in Rome earlier this month due to a back injury, the latest in a string of niggles dating back to the US Open.

Nonetheless, things appeared to be going according to plan when the 19-year-old, who was also making her senior debut on the Paris clay, broke and held for a 2-0 lead.

But Noskova, who is the reigning girls’ champion and ranked 184th in the world, saved three break points before rallying from a 40-0 deficit.

The mild rain on Court Simonne Mathieu irritated the British No 1, and breaks were shared again before the first set went to a tie-break, which ended in favour of the underdog thanks to a brilliant forehand down the line.

Raducanu converted a fourth set point on the Noskova serve with a brilliant drop shot to send the match to a decider after a see-saw second set.

Raducanu took the lead with a backhand winner on a short second serve, and Noskova had no chance, becoming the youngest player to qualify for Roland Garros in 13 years.

Raducanu sealed the game with a five-game winning streak and celebrated by jumping with pleasure.

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