When Emma Raducanu came back from a first-set loss to a 17-year-old Czech qualifier at the French Open, she escaped suffering her worst Grand Slam defeat. When she dropped an initial tiebreak against world No. 184 Linda Noskova, the US Open champion was in great danger of dropping out of the tournament in the rain.
The British No 1 found free points off her own racket hard to come by in the early stages while Noskova smoked 40 winners in the first two sets. She will now play Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round.
Emma Raducanu comes back from a set down to seal the deal
In the opening set, Emma Raducanu held her serve and led by two games. Even the rain streaks in the air bothered the British No. 1. She warned the French umpire about slipping on the court. The Czech, on the other hand, immediately levelled the score with a competitive eighth game that lasted over 7 minutes. The teenager took the lead with a powerful backhand. After the Brit levelled the game at 6-6 with a double backhand winner down the line, the game proceeded to a tie break. Nevertheless, Raducanu was defeated in the first set of the tiebreak by Linda Noskova, a 17-year-old who displayed excellent backhand control.
Raducanu got off to a solid start in the second set, winning 1-0. Soon after, the Czech had a strong start with a comfortable hold. It was clear that she was the more aggressive of the two. The set was similar to the first, with Noskova overpowering the brit’s serve once more. However, the Brit did not give up lightly and fought back. She went on to win the rest of the set. Noskova did an incredible job, saving set points and bringing up a game point of her own, but she made a few more blunders, and Raducanu’s one fantastic drop decided the set.
Emma Raducanu kicked off the final set with a bang. She flipped the game on its head and began calling the shots. In the final set, she took the lead with a double-handed backhand down the line on the breakpoint. The Brit continued to lead the set by 4-1 and was only two games away from flory and finally a thrilling three-setter match Raducanu sealed the deal in two hours and 37 minutes with a final score of 6-7, 7-5, 6-1.
“It was an incredible atmosphere to play”- Emma Raducanu
The teenager, who made her full French Open debut on Court Simone-Mathieu, said, “I am just happy to be here competing after Rome. I have fought hard to be here and I am just looking forward to staying here as long as I can. It was an absolute battle. 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 clocks to Linda as she played an amazing match,” she added.
“It was an incredible atmosphere to play in front of everyone. I loved all of the sounds, I am sorry the match too so long – I know you want to see Benoit. 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 try to stay as long as possible.” The British No 1 twice broke last year’s junior French Open champion in the first set before the drizzle came down,” she went on to conclude.