By: Ben Raby (www.twitter.com/benraby31)
Emma Raducanu described it as one of the most physically demanding matches of her young career. It may have also been among her most satisfying wins since last fall.
With temperatures in the upper 90s and a National Weather Service heat advisory in effect Thursday, Raducanu and Camila Osorio spent nearly three hours trading blows on Stadium Court.
Raducanu ultimately held off the pesky Osorio 7-6(5), 7-6(4), advancing to the quarterfinals in her maiden Citi Open.
“I think I died about three times in that match,” Raducanu told Renee Stubbs in her post-match on-court interview.
Officially clocked at 2 hours and 50 minutes, Raducanu’s triumph over Osorio was the longest two-set match on Tour this year.
Along the way, Raducanu nearly blew a 4-1 first-set lead, having to save two set points against at 4-5 in that opening stanza. The second set wasn’t any easier with Raducanu having to regroup after being broken while serving for the match at 5-4.
“I think for me it was a pretty monumental effort to really get through that,” Raducanu said. “I'm just really pleased and proud of how I dug in when it really mattered.”
Raducanu singled out her resiliency earlier this week when asked, big picture, about how she’s handled her first full year on Tour. Results have been mixed since Raducanu’s life forever changed with her U.S. Open title last fall, but the World No.10 says she’s proud of how she’s navigated through the past few months.
“I've pretty much been knocked down every single week literally in front of everyone, [but] get back up every single time.
“I would say that, take away the US Open, the results I've had in the past year wouldn't have been terrible for any 18-, 19-year-old. I have to take a step back and give myself a pat on the back, as well.”
As Raducanu approaches the one-year anniversary of her historic US Open triumph, the reminders of that run will be unavoidable. The run itself will forever be worth celebrating – ten consecutive wins, qualifying included, without dropping a set. Having to live up to that at every stop on Tour hasn’t always been easy.
“Those weeks don't come by very often,” she said Thursday. “You might have one or two a year. For me, I was lucky that I had three [weeks] pretty much when it mattered really.”
Still a teenager, Raducanu understands that and has taken a very level-headed approach.
“I feel wiser now compared to, like, just after the US Open and the beginning of this year, because I think that no matter what I said, I probably did have, you know, certain expectations of myself that were probably a bit twisted,” she said.
“Now I genuinely just accept it. Okay, it's not going to be pretty necessarily or easy, but I'm like 100% okay for starting over, to be honest. Like if my ranking plummets to like 1000 and whatever, then I don't care. I know that being a US Open champ I'm going to somehow pull my way back up there. It's going to take a bit of time maybe, but, yeah, I'm just really, you know, accepting of that and looking forward to whatever journey it takes.”
So far this week, the journey has taken her into second quarterfinal of 2022. Raducanu is set to face Liudmila Samsonova Friday on John Harris (not before 5:00 p.m.).
Samsonova advanced to the quarters with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic Thursday in 2 hours and 14 minutes.
Raducanu, though, enters the Final-8 with a healthy confidence not only in how she’s handled some adversity throughout the year, but also in how she’s dealt with some difficult conditions on court this week.
“I am really pleased of course to get through that match,” against Osorio, she said. “It was three hours on the court, and I actually warmed up for like an hour [in the] morning. So I have had a lot of court time. But, yeah, it just gives you a lot of confidence coming through a match like that. Physically, I'm pretty pleased with how I held up in that match, and, yeah, looking forward to going again.”