Auckland: Emma Raducanu wins in dramatic finish, Elina Svitolina wins battle of moms

Raducanu has made a positive start to her post-surgery comeback in Auckland.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Auckland: Emma Raducanu wins in dramatic finish, Elina Svitolina wins battle of moms
© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland

Emma Raducanu has started her post-surgery comeback in Auckland with a win, while Elina Svitolina won the battle of moms and defending champion Coco Gauff also ended victorious in her opener. 

Raducanu, who received a main draw wildcard into Auckland, defeated world No. 134 Elena-Gabriela Ruse. 6-3 4-6 7-5. By beating qualifier Ruse, Raducanu set up an Auckland round-of-16 against Svitolina, who defeated Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3. Meanwhile, Gauff, the No. 1 seed in Auckland, claimed a routine 6-4 6-2 win over 95th-ranked Liu.

The first break points and break of the Raducanu and Ruse match were seen in the eighth game, when the Briton broke the Romanian for a 5-3 lead. In the following game, Raducanu realized her first set point to clinch the opener.

After winning the first set, Raducanu missed out on three break points in the first game before losing her service in the following game. Raducanu managed to get the break back in the fifth game but Ruse broke the Briton again in the sixth game for a 4-2 lead.  Raducanu didn't allow Ruse to serve out for the second set in the ninth game but she still lost the set after failing to serve out the 10th game.

After losing the second set in a devastating way, Raducanu managed to keep her focus as she opened a 5-2 third-set lead after clinching back-to-back breaks in the fifth and seventh game. Just when it seemed the match was over, Raducanu failed to serve out for the match in the eighth game and then also didn't convert any of her two match points in the following game. 

Serving out for the match in her second attempt, Raducanu failed to close out the match once again as Ruse leveled the set to five games apiece. Just when it seemed all of the momentum was on Ruse's side, Raducanu managed to get a break in the 11th game for a 6-5 lead. After not managing to get it done in her first two attempts, Raducanu finally managed to serve out for the match in the 12th game after realizing her fourth match point.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

Svitolina beats Wozniacki, plays Raducanu next

In the first set, there wasn't much consistency on either side as breaks were seen in five games and there were break points in three other games where players managed to hold their serve. The first to break was Svitolina, who started the match with an early 2-0 lead. 

Down by an early break, Wozniacki responded with breaks in the third and seventh games for a 4-3 lead. After blowing an early break and now finding herself down by a break, Svitolina responded with back-to-back breaks on her own as she broke Wozniacki in the eighth and 10th games to win three games in a row - overturn the deficit - and clinch the first set. 

After winning the first set, Svitolina also earned the first break of the second set in the fourth game. Down by a set and a break, Wozniacki refused to quit as she managed to get the break back in the seventh game. 

However, blowing an early second-set break didn't impact Svitolina, who broke Wozniacki again in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. In the ninth game, Svitolina saved a break point before realizing her first match point to complete a two-set win.

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

Gauff sees off Liu 

Gauff came out firing against Liu as the top-ranked American female tennis player started the match with back-to-back breaks and a 4-0 lead. At that moment, it looked like Gauff would very easily and comfortably win the first set. 

But then, Liu impressively made her way back into the set as she got both breaks back after breaking Gauff in the fifth and ninth games. After blowing two breaks and seeing her lead reduced to 5-4, Gauff managed to prevent Liu from stealing the first set from her as the 2023 US Open won the opener after breaking Liu in the 10th game. 

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Dave Rowland
 

In the second set, the two players were tied to two games apiece through the opening four games. Then, Gauff went on to complete a straight-set win by breaking Liu in the fifth and eighth games. 

Emma Raducanu Elina Svitolina
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