French Open: Emma Raducanu apologises for delaying arrival of crowd favourite

Raducanu, Paire

Emma Raducanu came through a thrilling first-round encounter against Linda Noskova at the French Open, but the crowd were less than impressed by how long the match took to finish. 

The Brit recovered from a set and a break down against the Czech teenager to win 6-7 7-5 6-1 in two hours, 37 minutes. 

Raducanu digs deep 

Throughout the past year, Raducanu has often fallen short against the greater experience of her opponents, however, this time it was different. 

Noskova is just 17 years old and the youngest player to ever qualify for the French Open main draw. Having won last year’s juniors competition at Roland Garros, she is an extremely talented player, as Raducanu found out. 

Indeed, it was the Czech who took control of the match early on –– growing in confidence with every game and eventually claiming the first set in a tiebreak. At the start of the second set, the teenager almost ran away with the match, breaking Raducanu’s serve, as she looked to seal a historic victory. 

Raducanu wins at French Open

But the US Open champion rallied and demonstrated some impressive mental toughness, which has been lacking at times this season. 

After snatching the second set with an exquisite drop shot, the Brit took control of the decider and swiftly sealed her place in round two. 

Raducanu apologises to crowd 

While the crowd were treated to a thrilling match, they were nonetheless antagonised by how long the contest took to complete. 

With French star and home-crowd favourite Benoit Paire scheduled to play Ilya Ivashka after the completion of Raducanu’s match, the majority of those watching on Court Simonne-Mathieu were keen for the tie to wrap up as quickly as possible. 

When Noskova appeared close to victory in the second set, the crowd attempted to rally the Czech youngster, yet when Raducanu fought her way back into the contest and took charge of the decider, the cheers quickly turned in favour of the Brit. 

Speaking after the match, Raducanu was asked what she thought of the crowd and the British number one gave a hilarious response. 

“It was an incredible atmosphere to play in front of everyone. I’m sorry that it took so long. I know you want to see Benoit [Paire.]” 

Raducanu also praised her opponent and described the match as a  “battle” from start to finish. 

“It was an absolute battle,” she said. “I have to say Linda is playing some amazing tennis and she really came out there firing. As soon as I dropped my ball speed, she was all over me and killing me from the end of the first set.”

Emma Raducanu celebrates at the French Open

Who will Raducanu play next? 

Next up for the US Open champion is Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich. 

Raducanu lost to Sasnovich at Indian Wells last year but will fancy her chances of avenging that defeat at Roland Garros. 

Regardless, the Brit insists she is not putting pressure on herself and is just happy to be taking part in the tournament. 

1 of 15
Serena Williams

Serena Williams is eyeing up a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam, but how many Roland-Garros titles has she won?

“Honestly, I have no expectations of myself,” she stressed. “You know I am really happy to be able to be competing here after [injury in] Rome.

“I really fought hard to be here in this second round and I am looking forward to trying to stay as long as possible.”

News Now - Sport News