Emma Raducanu marked her clay court debut on Friday with an emphatic win in her first Billie Jean King Cup appearance.
The British number one beat the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5 to level the tie at 1-1 following Harriet Dart’s defeat earlier in the day.
But despite a dream start to her time on the new surface, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Raducanu.
Since her historic triumph at the US Open, the 19-year-old has struggled to get wins on the board and has suffered a number of injury problems.
During the Billie Jean King Cup draw ceremony in Prague, Raducanu revealed she had been dealing with yet another issue, this time with her foot.
“I have no toenails,” she admitted when asked about her physical condition. “Just my foot, my shoes, they’ve just been sliding around a lot.
“I had a small niggle in Miami, but now I have no physical thing.”
Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong joked about her compatriot’s latest injury problem, stating the team are “all a little scarred by Emma’s toes.”
But despite her lack of toenails, Raducanu put in a huge shift to bag an important win for Great Britain.
All to play for
As the highest ranked player on her team, the world number 12 has taken the role as leader as she looks to make it a clay court tournament debut to remember.
Marketa Vondrousova’s 6-1 6-0 win over Dart means there’s a lot at stake tomorrow between the Czechs and the Brits. The remaining three matches will determine which team will qualify for the finals in November.
The women will essentially swap opponents tomorrow, with Raducanu set to face Vondrousova, while Martincova awaits Dart. Should the scores remain level after these two singles matches, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal will take on Marie Bouzkova and Linda Fruhvirtova in a deciding doubles clash.
“Playing on clay definitely took some adjusting, even now,” Raducanu said after her win. “The conditions were very windy and some bad bounces, so to adjust and adapt in the situation was very challenging but I’m very proud of how I dug in.
“In the beginning of the second set, I went a bit flat and everyone in my team was telling me the intensity had dropped. It is difficult to regain that but I’m very happy I did in the end.”