Paris-US Open champion Emma Radukanu showed exemplary determination in her French Open debut with a 6-7 (4) 6-5 6-1 victory over Czech qualifier Linda Naskova on Monday to advance to the second round.
The 19-year-old British came to Paris after retiring from a first-round match in Rome earlier this month with a back problem, but Court Simon Matthews showed no signs of discomfort in the tough competition of two hours and 37 minutes.
“It simply came to our notice then. I am proud of the way I have fought, ”12th seed Radukanu told the court in an interview.
“Linda was really there to shoot and she was on top of me as I slowed my ball.”
In her first match against 17-year-old Noskova, who won the women’s singles title at the Roland Garros last year and is ranked 184th, Radukanu had no match for the Czech aggression at first, hitting 48 winners – twice the number of his opponents.
But Britt kept a lid on his unforced error – 25 off 54 from Naskova – to return to the competition after losing a 2-0 and 4-2 lead in the tiebreak.
During the equally competitive second set, Radukanu broke Nascova’s serve in the 12th game, pushing for his advantage and taking the pace of the match in his favor.
The return winner gave Radukanu a decisive break in the third set and he consolidated the lead by saving a break point in his next service game and leading 4-1.
Noskova, who became the youngest player to qualify for the Roland Garros in 13 years, had no way of returning, as Radukanu won five games in a row to seal the competition and jumped for joy at the celebration.
He will face Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich to advance to the third round.
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