A lot of attention has been drawn to Emma Raducanu since her stunning victory at Flushing Meadows in September. So far since that victory she has struggled to replicate the same form. She faces Petra Martic of Croatia who is more known for her doubles credentials. The truth about this match is that Petra should have wrapped up the first set early but collapsed mid set to hand the initiative back to the Brit. Martic has a combination of a height and slice backhand which makes her a particularly dangerous opponent on the hard court. Leading 3-1 in the first set , Petra tried the backhand drop shot at 30-40 break point to Emma one too many times to hand the break back. Emma too looked jittery on serve especially serving for the set at 5-3. That led to the set going into a tie breaker. She double faulted eight times in the match which was too high for standards set by her in previous tournaments. However before the breaker, the moment of magic from the Brit at 5-5(30-15). Martic trying the backhand slice drop shot again but the Croatian got too much height on the shot with Emma being able to recover and cover the net well. The crucial difference in the breaker was the baseline play by Emma which allowed her to hit shots like the forehand cross court at 4-2. Not a bad angel from Petra though, an even better one from Emma.
Petra fought her way back in the second set after going down a break at 1-1. Her 8 Aces for the match helped a lot. It took some doing for Petra to win the second set though. For a lot of plays in the match, Emma had the better of Martic from the net. At 5-4(15-30), the Croatian got the better of the Brit. Just watch reflex action at the net with focus on the ball and not moving too quickly. That’s a doubles player right there. Martic closing it out 6-4 and off to the decider we went. Check out 2-1(40-30) in the third. Another drop shot telegraphed by Emma. It seemed as though Petra underestimated Emma’s speed and movement ability on court. Both players were getting spectacular angles on their shots such that at one point a tie breaker looked to be on the cards. But just like set two, Emma blinked and at a crucial point. She was also serving to stay in the set this time at 6-5. Check out 15-40. Now I really believe she was a bit hasty going for the big forehand way too early. I would have loved her to keep on slamming on the baseline a few shots then get the angle to nail the winner. This is something Emma will learn with experience.