Nottingham: Emma Raducanu shines in opening match on grass, earns routine win

Raducanu routinely handled Ena Shibahara in the Nottingham first round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Nottingham: Emma Raducanu shines in opening match on grass, earns routine win
© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

Emma Raducanu has made an outstanding start to her Nottingham run as the 2021 US Open champion ousted qualifier Ena Shibahara 6-1 6-4 in her opening match of this year's grass season. 

Raducanu, who accepted a wildcard into Nottingham after skipping the French Open qualifying, needed an hour and 10 minutes of play to complete her win over world No. 274 Shibahara. 

At one point, Raducanu was up by a set and a double break but then suffered a collapse and Shibahara managed to get both breaks back. However, Raducanu was able to recover and still escape with a two-set win. 

Now, Raducanu is set to play against 127th-ranked Daria Snigur, who surprised No. 2 seed Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-3. When Raducanu, 21, and 22-year-old Snigur meet in the Nottingham round-of-16, it will be their first meeting. 

Although Snigur managed to upset second-seeded Kostyuk in the first round, the 12th-ranked Ukrainian is certainly still a very favorable matchup for Raducanu. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

How Raducanu overcame Shibahara?

Raducanu made a commanding start to the match, breaking Shibahara in the very first game of the match. After opening up an early lead of a break, Raducanu was in danger of losing it instantly but she managed to save two consecutive break points in the following game and go 2-0 up.

While Shibahara managed to serve out the third game and get on the board, Raducanu continued playing her game and she routinely won the first set after also claiming breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

After winning the last four games of the first set, Raducanu's run continued at the start of the second set after the 21-year-old Briton claimed an early break and won the opening three games for a 3-0 lead. 

In the fourth game, Shibahara served out to love to end Raducanu's run of seven consecutive games but the Japanese got broken again in the sixth game as the Briton went 5-1 up in the second set.

Then out of nowhere, Raducanu suffered a shocking collapse and twice failed to serve out for the match as Shibahara cut the deficit to 4-5. Luckily for Raducanu, she was able to stay calm in those moments and earn her first match point on Shibahara's serve in the 10th game, and realize it to seal a two-set win.

Emma Raducanu Ena Shibahara