Emma Raducanu beats Marie Bouzkova to book last-16 meeting with Ons Jabeur at Abu Dhabi Open

by 24britishtvFeb. 5, 2024, 10 p.m. 23
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Emma Raducanu is through to the second round of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open after despatching Marie Bouzkova in straight sets.

Raducanu, playing in just her third tournament of the year and first since her second-round exit at the Australian Open, took 82 minutes to see off her Czech opponent 6-4 6-1 in the final match of the day.

The former US Open champion recovered from a slow start to break Bouzkova three times in the opening set and win four consecutive games to prevail 6-4, then took control of the match by breaking her twice early in the second.

Raducanu completed her impressive victory - her first over a player in the world's top 100 in 11 months - to safely book a last-16 meeting with second seed Ons Jabeur, who received a bye through the opening round

Raducanu, a wildcard entry into the WTA 500 event after missing the bulk last year due to injury, made a slow start to a tight first set that saw six consecutive games go against serve.

The 21-year-old won back-to-back service games to love to battle back from 4-2 down to move 5-4 ahead as she continued to grow into the match, then fired an unreturned forehand to see out the opening set.

Raducanu dominated the second and put pressure on the Bouzkova serve, breaking her opponent in a tight third game of the set before holding to love in the next to close in on victory.

Bouzkova lost all three of her service games and registered 15 winners compared to the 23 of Raducanu, who produced arguably her best performance since her injury comeback to complete an impressive win.

Radcuanu will now look to reach the quarter-finals of an event for the first time this season and her first victory against a top-10 opponent when she faces Jabeur.

Raducanu's match was last on the Stadium Court and Monday and due to begin around 3pm UK time, only to be delayed several hours due to earlier matches taking longer than expected.

"I warmed up so many times today!" Raducanu said after her victory. "I was here since two [in the afternoon], so it was a pretty long wait.

"I think in the beginning I was just adjusting to the speed of the court. I hadn't played on this court this year yet, so I was kind of just adjusting. It was pretty quick and also a lot more still than it had been for the week, because it's been very windy, so it was a different tempo.

"Marie is a really tough opponent. I knew that going in I was going to have to play so many balls and I think in the beginning I was missing a few of the finishing shots, but I cleaned that up so I'm very happy about."

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