Nottingham: Emma Raducanu loses 3-hour thriller, fails to set up final vs former No.1

Raducanu was very close to making her first final since the 2021 US Open.

by Dzevad Mesic
Nottingham: Emma Raducanu loses 3-hour thriller, fails to set up final vs former No.1
© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

Emma Raducanu missed out on a great chance to reach the Nottingham final after losing a tight battle to Katie Boulter, while former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova created a comeback against Diane Parry to make her second final at the tournament. 

Raducanu, who kicked off her grass season in Nottingham as a wildcard, made a great start against Boulter as she was just a set away from making her first final since the 2021 US Open. But after the match was suspended on Sunday evening due to rain and players returned to the court on Sunday, No. 3 seed Boulter came back to beat Raducanu 6-7 (13) 6-3 6-4 in three hours and 13 minutes of grueling play. 

Katie Boulter
Katie Boulter© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

On the other side, No. 6 seed and 2016 Nottingham champion Pliskova lost the first set to world No. 64 Parry in a heartbreaking way but impressively recovered to win 6-7 (9) 6-1 6-4 in two hours and 22 minutes. 

After getting some rest, Boulter and Pliskova will return to the court for the Nottingham final. Going into the match, the head-to-head between the two stands at 2-2 and two of their four matches came on grass - Boulter impressively claimed back-to-back grass wins over Pliskova during the 2022 grass season in Eastbourne and Wimbledon. 

How Boulter edged out Raducanu in a three-hour thriller?

Throughout the first set, both Raducanu and Boulter fairly routinely held on to their serves as in just two games break points were seen - Raducanu missed out on two break points in the fifth game but Boulter also didn't convert any of her first two break points in the following game. 

As no breaks were seen, the opening set went into a tie-break, where a real drama and thriller ensued. After being down 1-4 in the tie-break, Raducanu responded by winning the next four points and eventually opening a 6-5 lead to earn the first set point. In the remainder of the tie-break, Raducanu needed five more set points before finally realizing her sixth set point. Also, Raducanu saved Boulter's three set points in the first-set tie-break. 

At 8-8, Raducanu hit a stunning forehand passing shot to earn a set point - which Boulter ended up saving with a forehand down the line. It should be noted that at Boulter's set point at 10-9, Boulter hit a double fault and Raducanu survived. Then at 14-13, Raducanu hit a big forehand return - took the initiative - and that's how she realized her sixth set point to win a first set that lasted an hour and 20 minutes. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

After a thriller tie-break ended, the chair umpire suspended the play due to rain.

When the match resumed, both players firmly held on to their service games in the opening six games of the second set but then Boulter claimed back-to-back breaks in the seventh and ninth games to force a decider.

In the third set, no breaks were seen in the first five games and Boulter led 3-2. Then in the next five games, as many breaks were seen as Boulter was twice up by a break but Raducanu twice came back. But serving to stay in the match in the 10th game, Raducanu got broken and that's how Boulter escaped with a three-set win.

How Pliskova came back to beat Parry?

Early in the first set, Pliskova missed out on a break point in the third game and on another break point two games later. After missing two early break points, Pliskova finally managed to break Parry in the ninth game and go 5-4 up. Just when it seemed that Pliskova finally managed to break Parry's game, the former world No. 1 failed to serve out for the first set in the 10th game as Parry broke back to tie the opener to five games apiece.

Karolina Pliskova
Karolina Pliskova© Getty Images Sport - Nathan Stirk

As no more breaks were seen, the first set went into a tie-break - where Pliskova earned the first set point at 6-5. Parry saved that set point and then had her own first set point at 7-6 - but Pliskova responded by winning the next two points and opening an 8-7 lead to give herself her second set point. But again, Parry saved Pliskova's set point. The Frenchwoman then missed out on her second set point at 9-8 but realized her third at 10-9 to win a thriller of a first set that lasted an hour and 10 minutes.

After losing the first set in a devastating way, Pliskova bounced back impressive as she broke Parry in the second and sixth games to easily win the second set with just one game lost. 

At the start of the third set, Parry managed to bounce back and open an early 2-0 lead. However, Pliskova remained calm after falling down by an early break as the former world No. 1 responded with breaks in the third and seventh games before realizing her first match point on her serve in the 10th game.

Emma Raducanu Us Open