In what could have been a tricky encounter, turned out to be more of a nightmare for the higher ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo against Emma Raducanu. Expecting to be made to run all day long, Raducanu played a precise, powerful game to beat her highest ranked opponent to date.
In the first set she overwhelmed the Spaniard and was never challenged on her own serve. The same was true in the second set, with Sorribes Tormo staving off a match-point as she finally got a game on the board.
It was just a brief respite as Raducanu served out for a place in the the second week of a Slam for the second time in a row.
After the match, she said: “She’s been in great form. I can definitely tell why, because she’s such a tricky opponent to play. I kind of went out there with nothing to lose, and just knew that if I was going to win or have a shot of winning that I was going to have to dominate and hit the corners as many times as possible and not miss.
“I was fully prepared mentally to go into the match and have to face a lot of long rallies and points. Just through her sheer athleticism, she can get to so many balls and make it an extremely consistent and physical battle.”
Given that Raducanu has played less on hard courts this year than Rogers, their stats are surprisingly close. Rogers is sharper on saving and converting break-points, and having reached the quarter-final last year, not to mention stunning World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, she is not to be underestimated at all.
Both can get free points of effective serving, and Raducanu has shown that she has the boldness to take risks and will need to do the same again. This will be a different experience to her (short-lived) Wimbledon encounter with the crowd likely to be firmly with their home favourite, even though Raducanu has enjoyed a lot of support thus far.
This might not be a bad thing though – the pressure at Wimbledon got to the teenager, but doing the hard yards on the tour is helping her prepare for these tougher matches.
She said: “Having played like four, five weeks on the tour now, I think that with each week I’m getting more and more accustomed to the physical demands of playing at this level. I think that my level of tennis here, I have to say from my own perspective, I think I’m playing better tennis here than at Wimbledon. Of course, being on the hard courts, they’re less forgiving than grass.
“But honestly, I think with the amount of matches I have played and the experience that I have accumulated in the last four, five weeks, my game is just getting better with each match.”
Rogers has been here before, and has been further, so experience will be her advantage. And she knows she is not here to make up the numbers after her win against am at times error-strewn Barty.
She said (of Raducanu): “She’s fearless. She is playing very well and she’s inspired. It’s going to be a battle. I am ready for it.
“It’s really cool to see the younger generation coming up in this tournament, getting some big wins. It’s really impressive. I’m going to have to bring my best tennis again in a different way.”
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