Al Rawdah: Britain’s Emma Raducanu got her Abu Dhabi Open campaign off to a winning start with a 6-4, 6-1 straight sets victory over the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in their first-round clash.
Having returned to action at the start of the year following a difficult spell with injuries, Raducanu naturally took some time to find her rhythm, and it was Bouzkova who looked the more assured in the opening stages as she won the first two games.
Slowly the 2021 US Open champion began to get a foothold in the game with a couple of exquisite drop-shots an indication of what was to follow, and when she levelled the first set at 4-4, the balance of the contest swung well and truly in her favour.
Raducanu won the next two games to claim the first set, and from that point onwards there was only ever going to be one outcome.
A dominant display in the second set saw the Brit produce some wonderful tennis which Bouzkova simply had no answer to, and she eventually bested former Wimbledon quarterfinalist Bouzkova in 1 hour and 22 minutes to clinch her spot in the second round,
Raducanu will next lock horns with No.2 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in an attempt to make her first quarterfinal of the season.
On the prospect of facing Arab star Jabeur, Raducanu said: “She’s definitely the home favorite here, rightfully so. I really like Ons, she’s someone who’s kind of taken me under her wing as I’ve been new to the tour.
“I’m really looking forward to it because a lot of people were saying to me, ‘Oh, Ons, Ons, Ons!’ And I was like, ‘I’m playing Marie who’s ranked like 30 in the world, so that’s not an easy match!’ But I’m really pleased to have put myself in this situation, and I’m going out with nothing to lose against her.”
Wild-card recipient Raducanu, who returned to action in last month’s Aussie swing after missing the final eight months of last year due to multiple surgeries, has played three events so far in her comeback this year and has won a match at each of them. IANS