‘I hope she will do it’: Iga Swiatek backs Emma Raducanu to win more titles

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Emma Raducanu’s progress in the Stuttgart Open was halted in straight sets by the world No 1, Iga Swiatek.

The Polish four-time grand slam champion, in her 100th week on top of the world rankings, prevailed 7-6 (2), 6-3 to set up a semi-final with Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina. It was, however, an encouraging quarter-final performance from Raducanu, who has slipped to 303 in the rankings after a torrid 2023.

Raducanu came in to the contest on a high after winning four matches in a row for the first time since her US Open title in 2021 and her raised confidence levels were reflected in the opening exchanges. Several big returns from the 21-year-old turned a 0-40 deficit into an immediate break of serve, but Swiatek levelled after edging a second game that featured seven deuces.

That seesaw battle set the tone for a marathon 70-minute opening set which produced plenty of high quality ground strokes from both sides of the net. The match went with serve from that point, with Raducanu superbly holding her nerve at 5-4 and 6-5 down to force the first set to a tie-break. Swiatek completely dominated though, winning the first four points before closing it out 7-2.

Raducanu was quickly in trouble again in the second set, falling 2-0 behind and covered in clay after losing her footing on the baseline. She continued to fight and fended off break points in her next two service games to stay in the match. But Swiatek kept up the pressure to finally end Raducanu’s resistance to move into the last four.

“It was a pretty intense match, so I’m happy that I was able to keep the intensity even though we played a tough games for two hours,” Swiatek said. “It wasn’t easy, I had a lot of break points that I couldn’t convert.”

Asked if she thought Raducanu was on the path back to challenging for titles, Swiatek said: “I hope she’ll be able to do it, because for sure, she has a game for that, but it’s not easy.”

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Meanwhile, the Wimbledon champion, Marketa Vondrousova, upset world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to reach a semi-final for the first time since winning the grass-court grand slam tournament last year. It was Sabalenka’s first appearance in a quarter-final since winning the Australian Open in January.

Source: theguardian.com

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