Emma Raducanu has explained how different it was to face a younger opponent in Linda Fruhvirtova after defeating the teenager 4-6 6-4 6-2 in her first match of the season. The Brit famously won the 2021 US Open as a qualifier at the age of just 18 and has rarely faced opponents younger and less experience than herself but dealt with the challenge well as she came from a set and 0-2 down to clinch victory at the ASB Classic.
Raducanu won her first match of the season on Tuesday as she overcame two rain delays and a set-and-break deficit to defeat Fruhvirtova in three sets. It was the world No 79’s first official match since October 4 and her first match win since September 23, as a wrist injury ended her 2022 season early.
But the 20-year-old looked like a new woman in her first appearance of the year, remaining physically strong throughout the length battle despite two rain delays. And she found herself in an unusual position as the older and more experienced player against the 17-year-old Czech, who has played fewer events over her career.
Speaking about the match, Raducanu called it a “different dynamic” to come up against someone like Fruhvirtova. “I think it’s like four hours later, honestly I don’t know what time it is anymore,” she laughed, addressing the crowd after her three-set win.
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“I mean what a battle,” she added. “Linda is such a great young player and it was a different dynamic for me because normally I was the younger one and going into this match she is, and yeah she’s going to be like up there for sure and she already is so massive props to her.”
Fruhvirtova proved herself to be a tough challenge for Raducanu as she took the first set 6-4 after the match was first rained off at 4-4 in the opener. The world No 79 continued her run by breaking for a 2-0 lead in the second set before the British No 1 put her foot on the gas to take the second set and break for a 1-0 lead in the third before play was halted for the rain again.
The 17-year-old didn’t go away when Raducanu was 5-0 up in the final set and serving for the match as she broke and saved three match points before finally going away 4-6 6-4 6-2. Following her comeback win, the 20-year-old was also asked about her hopes of being “fearless” in 2023 after a season of mixed results in 2022 – her first full year on the tour.
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