British tennis star Emma Raducanu admitted winning her first ever match on clay means so much to her as she is hoping to propel Great Britain to a victory over the Czech Republic in a Billie Jean King Cup qualifying tie. On Friday, 19-year-old Raducanu played her first clay match as a professional.
Raducanu, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 12 in the world, defeated Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5 to level the Great Britain and Czech Republic tie to 1-1 after the opening day. "This one means so much to me because it is my first match in the Billie Jean King Cup and representing the team in my first match on clay," Raducanu said, per Eurosport.
"We're still in this battle and it's all to play for tomorrow. "The team had my back 100% as we had Harriet's back this morning. It is amazing to be in team event in an individual sport and I'm cherishing the matches this week.
"In the beginning of the second set I went a bit flat and everyone in team said the intensity had dropped. It is difficult to regain that but glad I did in the end."
Raducanu's win gives Great Britain a chance
In the opening rubber of the tie, Marketa Vondrousova dominated Harriet Dart a 6-1 6-0 loss.
In the second rubber, Raducanu came out and clinched a victory to level the tie to 1-1. Raducanu made a positive start to the match, having taken an early 2-0 lead. After falling down by an early break, Martincova responded as she broke Raducanu in the third and ninth games to take a 5-4 lead and give herself a chance to serve out for the set in the 10th game.
However, Raducanu refused to quit as she claimed back-to-back breaks and won three games in a row to overturn the deficit and steal the opener. Raducanu was three times down by a break in the second set but three times recovered, before she earned her fourth break of the set in the 12th game to seal a straight-set win.
Photos: Emma Raducanu visits primary school in London, reads to kids from book
Emma Raducanu delivers blunt message to her critics, doubters
The Emma Raducanu effect: how she became the muse of brands
Emma Raducanu shares her 'ultimate tennis dream'
Emma Raducanu issues major update in her post-surgery comeback
Photos: Emma Raducanu shares insight into how memorable China trip went