Emma Raducanu into third round at Indian Wells after Yastremska abandons | Emma Raducanu


Emma Raducanu returned to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after Dayana Yastremska was forced to retire with a stomach problem with the Briton leading 4-0, 15-0 23 minutes into their second-round match.

By reaching the third round, Raducanu has advanced through two consecutive rounds for the first time since her return to competition this year after undergoing surgery on both hands and an ankle in 2023. The 21-year-old will maintain her spot inside the world top 300, with the result leaving her at No 287 in the WTA rankings.

One of the ultimate tests in this era of women’s tennis may be next as she is likely to face Aryna Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion and No 2 seed, who was playing the home favourite Peyton Stearns later on Saturday.

Having eased into the tournament with a relatively straightforward victory over Rebeka Masarova, a qualifier, in the first round on Thursday, Raducanu stepped up for what should have been an opportunity to test her level against top opposition.

Yastremska, once one of the most promising young stars in her own right, returned to the top 30 this year after a few turbulent seasons by reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open. When she is in full flow, the Ukrainian can be one of the more lethal shotmakers on tour. She swings for the fences, determined to compete on her own terms and caring little about the approach of her opponents. Although this has a significant upside, this naturally means she has been an inconsistent player even in her best years. Since winning eight matches at the Australian Open to reach the semi-finals, coming as close as anyone else has come to Raducanu’s unprecedented achievement of winning a grand slam tournament from qualifying, Yastremska’s win-loss record is 2-3 and she is still searching for a run to consolidate her early season form.

For Raducanu, the challenge was to contain Yastremska’s high-octane shotmaking, to keep her own unforced error count low and to punch back whenever the opportunity presented itself. She played her role to perfection early on, landing ample returns and finding big first serves in a tight opening service game, and she remained rock solid.

From the moment Yastremska flubbed a routine volley, though, she looked completely off. She sprayed unforced errors throughout the opening games, quickly falling down 4-0.

Down 0-15 in the fifth game, Yastremska retreated to the back fence, bending over and wincing as she held her stomach. After Yastremska was guided to her chair by the umpire, Kader Nouni, the two competitors embraced as the Ukrainian retired.

skip past newsletter promotion

There is not too much for Raducanu to learn from 23 minutes on court against an unwell opponent, but she should take some solace from how solid and comfortable she looked early on and the fact that, for once, she was not the player suffering with physical problems. Another great test awaits on Monday.

In the men’s draw, Cameron Norrie made smooth progress with a 6-4, 6-4 second-round win over Lorenzo Sonego. The British No 1 faces Hubert Hurkacz or Gäel Monfils, who were playing later in the evening, next.


Source link

Leave a comment