Emma Raducanu will be 'stronger' after loss says Keothavong
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Emma Raducanu is just one win away from the main draw of the US Open at Flushing Meadows. The British teenager overcame heat and humidity to defeat Mariam Bolkvadze in straight sets 6-3 7-5.
In a tense first set, Raducanu – the 31st seed – took control when she broke her opponent’s service game in the seventh game of the opening set.
From there, she excellently held serve before once again breaking Bolkvadze to claim the first set.
Both players then held their serves before the second set saw a swing in momentum as they struggled to maintain their first set energy.
Bolkvadze had a break point on Raducanu’s serve in the sixth game of the second set, and the Georgian took her chance as the Brit sent a groundstroke beyond the baseline.
However, Raducanu bit back immediately and earned three break points – but like her opponent in the previous game, she only needed one to make it 3-4.
She then held her own serve without dropping a point to tie the second set up at four games apiece.
In a tense and highly competitive ninth game, Raducanu earned yet another break point but a deep shot from Bolkvadze forced the Brit to lose her balance and drag a shot out of bounds.
In the following deuce, Bolkvadze held on as Raducanu appeared to tire under the hot New York sun, and the 18-year-old produced another error to fall back behind 4-5.
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A rare double fault from Raducanu gave her opponent the initiative in that all-important 10th game, but she excellently recovered with her effective serve-and-volley combination.
With both players struggling in the 35-degree heat – and Raducanu showing signs of exhaustion in the sun – the 11th game was particularly crucial for the Brit.
Bolkvadze struggled and her third double fault of the set gave Raducanu three break points, and once again she only needed one.
Raducanu then held her serve to win the match and move one step closer to the US Open main draw.
The 18-year-old showed off the multi-faceted nature of her game, where excellent shot selection combines with not just technique but raw power.
This power was evident in the fourth and fifth games of the second set, where an emphatic forehand from Raducanu perfectly nestled in the corner of the baseline.
The teenager showed off her impressive shot selection and composure beyond her years, particularly at the net where she excelled with a variety of smart shots.
Raducanu will play either world number 95 Mayar Sherif or Yuliya Hatouka, the world number 249, in the final qualifying round.
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