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Rothesay Open Nottingham

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Emma Raducanu fist pumps at the Rothesay Open Nottingham during a first round win
International

Rothesay Open Nottingham 2024: Emma Raducanu wins first grass court match in two years

• 2 MINUTE READ

Emma Raducanu gave the fans plenty to cheer about at the Rothesay Open Nottingham on Tuesday as she booked her place in the second round for the first time with a straight sets win against Ena Shibahara.

In her first match on grass for 713 days – dating back to Wimbledon 2022 – Raducanu put in an impressive display on Centre Court to come through 6-1, 6-4 in an hour and 10 minutes.

Raducanu dominated on both serve and return throughout the majority of the match – taking the opening set inside 30 mins before launching herself to a 5-1 lead in the second. The Briton missed out on the chance to serve out the match twice but broke for a sixth and final time to see out the victory.

“I’m very pleased to have come through that match but more just happy with how I was in myself,” she said.

“Mentally it was great, my attitude was great, and I think for me that’s the most important thing. If I know I have that then I know the tennis will follow.

“An element of me forgot what it was like to play at home. Having that much support behind me is amazing. I’m very lucky to have support wherever I go, but it’s not quite like playing in the UK in front of everyone on the grass and it’s something that not just me, but all the Brits, really cherish.”

Highlights - Emma Raducanu vs Ena Shibahara | Rothesay Open Nottingham

The win proved a reward for the decision to move off the clay in recent months and focus on a strong training block ahead of a busy grass court season.

The 21-year-old Brit admitted that she was pleased with her level in the opening round and how she was able to keep her focus in tough situations.

“I hadn’t played many practice sets leading up to this either,” Raducanu explained. “But I know once I have a good feeling in my shots, I don’t forget how to play a match.

“The only thing that needs training in live situations is things like trying to serve out a match and I think you could see that today. I’m surprised in some ways in how I came out and played but on the other hand I’ve been doing some great work.”

In the next round, Raducanu will play Ukraine’s Daria Snigur – who knocked out second seed and compatriot Marta Kostyuk in the first match of the day 6-3, 6-3.

Raducanu and Snigur were close in age groups growing up and competed against each other at junior competition.

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“I remember playing her at the U12 Winter Cup in Romania,” Raducanu said. “I remember from that match she’s a very unorthodox opponent to play but someone with really good hand skills, she’s good at deflecting pace and is good at making you move.

“She’s someone that I grew up playing with at juniors but I haven’t spent much time on court with her – I just know she makes life as difficult as possible for her opponent.

“It’s important to focus on my end of the court as it’s very easy to maybe get frustrated or something, but I’m looking forward to playing against her.”

Elsewhere around the Rothesay Open Nottingham – Dan Evans and Wimbledon boys’ singles champion Henry Searle set up a blockbuster second round, with seven Brits now through in the men’s draw.

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