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Resilient Raducanu recovers to beat Hercog and record first WTA Tour win

The US Open champion showed great resilience as she came from behind to beat the Slovenian in the first round of the Transylvania Open

Emma Raducanu Transylvania Open 2021 AI / Reuters / Panoramic

WTA 250 Cluj NapocaDraw | Schedule

US Open champion Emma Raducanu showed she has the resilience to match her talent as she battled out a fine 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 win over experienced Slovenian Polona Hercog in the first round of the Translyvania Open on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old Briton, beaten first time up in Indian Wells last time out, led 4-1 in the first set but had to work hard to come from behind, clinching what was officially her first WTA Tour victory after almost two and a half hours to secure a second-round meeting with Romanian Ana Bogdan, who scored a 7-6, 6-4 win over Ivana Jorovic in Monday.

A delighted Raducanu gave her on-court interview in Romanian, the native language of her father, Ian, only breaking into English once to say: “It means a lot to play in my Dad’s country.”

In front of just a handful of people, with no fans allowed into the stadium due to rising Covid-19 numbers and low vaccination rates in Romania, Raducanu began in style, showing the kind of form she produced in New York as she took a 3-0 and then 4-1 lead.

But Hercog, now ranked 124 but once as high as No 35, began to ask more questions of the teenager and the mistakes flowed, allowing the Slovenian to win five straight games to take the first set.

Raducanu digs deep, varies game

There was a lot of head-shaking from Raducanu as the second set progressed but her attitude was spot on and she hit back superbly, saving a break point before finally breaking for 6-5 and then serving out the set to level the match.

The third set was all Raducanu as the 18-year-old mixed up her game, big returns and deft drop shots and clever slices making life difficult for her far more experienced opponent.

She had a match point at 5-0 in the decider but made no mistake second time round, hammering down an ace to clinch a satisfying victory.

In other matches on Tuesday, sixth seed Marta Kostyuk, Varvara Gracheva, wild card Jaqueline Adina Cristian, Alison van Uytvanck and Rebecca Peterson all advanced but seventh seed Irina-Camelia Begu was upset by local wild card Irina Bara

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