Sunday, July 14, 2024

Eastbourne 2024: Emma Raducanu saves match point on way to first top-10 win against Jessica Pegula – BBC


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Raducanu into quarters after career-first top-10 win
Britain's Emma Raducanu saved a match point as she knocked out world number five Jessica Pegula to reach the quarter-finals at Eastbourne.
The 21-year-old wildcard had never won against a top-10 opponent before.
She rallied from a set down against Pegula and saved a match point in the second set tie-break before battling to a remarkable 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-5 victory.
"I'm pretty drained right now," said Raducanu.
Raducanu said she had some "tough circumstances" to handle overnight before the match, but did not elaborate on what they were.
Asked about scribbling 'new start' on a TV camera after her victory, she said: "I would say it's more of just like a fresh start in mentality, a fresh start just all across the board.
"I'd say I'm not turning back, not looking back. I think everything has happened for a reason, and I think I'm just playing a lot more free."
Raducanu's win continued an impressive day for British women's tennis on England's south coast as Katie Boulter moved past former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko with a confident 6-4 7-5 victory.
Harriet Dart also booked her place in the last eight, beating Sofia Kenin, a former Australian Open champion, 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-0.
It is the first time since 1978 there have been three British women in the quarter-finals at Eastbourne.
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Raducanu went into Wednesday's match having never won a set against a top-10 player, let alone beaten one.
Pegula was fresh from winning the Berlin Open on Sunday and asserted control early in both of the first two sets.
Despite looking laboured at times, Raducanu clawed back from 4-1 down in the first before Pegula eventually served it out, while she trailed 3-1 in the second set.
Again, she rallied and Pegula had to dig deep to force a tie-break.
The American netted a match point at 6-5, and Raducanu capitalised to take the match to a deciding set, much to the delight of the British crowd.
The 2021 US Open champion grew in confidence, feeding off the support to go a double break up.
With a cushion behind her, Raducanu's nerves started to tell and she was unable to serve out the match on two occasions as Pegula levelled.
It seemed like a third chance would be wasted, too, as the Briton, who had broken again, fell 0-40 down.
But Raducanu overturned the deficit and held her head in her hands in disbelief as she emerged triumphant.
She will play Daria Kasatkina after the Russian sixth seed fought back against China's Yue Yuan to claim a 3-6 6-4 6-0 win.
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Katie Boulter 'blasts' into Eastbourne last eight
Boulter is attempting to win a second grass-court title this month after triumphing in Nottingham, while she will be seeded for the first time at Wimbledon, which begins on Monday.
The 27-year-old showed she can compete with the top players, outplaying one of the biggest hitters on the WTA Tour.
Under a scorching sun on centre court, Ostapenko's first-set service games were riddled with double faults and foot-faults, while she also struggled with her ball toss.
Boulter took advantage to earn a 5-1 lead, but the world number 32 faltered when serving for the set and had to wait for her next service game to clinch the opener on her seventh set point.
After exchanging breaks in the early stages of the second set, Ostapenko piled pressure on Boulter, but the Briton absorbed the Latvian's big hitting and struck a decisive blow at 5-5.
And, brimming with confidence, Boulter slammed down an unreturnable first serve to set up a last-eight meeting with French Open runner-up and third seed Jasmine Paolini, who benefited from Elise Mertens' early retirement with a hip injury.
Elswehere, defending champion Madison Keys booked her spot in the quarter-finals with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory over Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina.
Karolina Muchova completed her first full match since September with a 6-4 6-1 win against Poland's Magda Linette.
And in an all-British affair on court two, Billy Harris fought back from a set down to beat lucky loser Charles Broom 3-6 6-2 6-2.
However, fellow Briton Giles Hussey, after stepping up at late notice to claim his biggest career win on Wednesday, lost 4-6 6-3 6-4 to Italy's Flavio Cobolli.
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