US Open champion Emma Raducanu is once again on American soil. The Brit advanced to the quarter-finals of the Citi Open with a hard-fought 7-6(5), 7-6(4) defeat of Camila Osorio in 2 hours and 50 minutes, the longest WTA main draw match so far in 2022.
Here are three takeaways from Raducanu’s crushing victory:
Never count Osorio out… but Raducanu was ready: Osorio’s rise up the rankings last year was characterized by a string of improbable comeback wins, and her come-from-behind combativeness was on full display against Raducanu. In both sets, the Colombian dragged herself into contention despite facing significant deficits.
Raducanu had a point for a 5-1 lead in the first set and three break points to go up to a 5-2 double-break in the second. But Osorio deployed the full range of her versatility to come within a whisker of stealing both, holding two set points at 5-4 in the first set and earning two match points to level the match at 6-5 in the second set.
Less confident in the lead, Osorio helped Raducanu by double-faulting on both of her set points in the first set. But in both tiebreaks, it was Raducanu who shrugged off the lead to seize the opportunity. From 5-3 down in the first set tiebreak, the 19-year-old reeled off her best trio of points – a pass, a dropshot and a return winner – to regain control. In the second, a remarkable save at 5-4 prompted an error from Osorio to set up match point for Raducana, who duly converted with the winning serve.
Winning ugly can boost confidence: Conditions in Washington were grueling, with temperatures hovering around 90°F and humidity at 62%; both players required medical timeouts due to blisters. As a result, the statistics were not the prettiest: Raducan committed 51 unforced errors and Osorio 60.
It was a contrast to Raducanu’s US Open last year, when she had her whole game going and she barely faced a challenge on the scoresheet over 10 matches in three weeks. But as the teenager adjusted to the main tour this year, she came on the wrong end of some heartbreaking losses from the front, notably to Petra Martic and Katerina Siniak in Indian Wells and Miami.
This match could easily have devolved into something similar after Raducanu failed to serve out a 5-4 win in the second set, throwing back-to-back double faults and a tame forehand into the net. But preparing to bounce back into the tiebreak was the next step on her learning curve.
Liudmila Samson will be a formidable quarter-final test: Raducanu’s opponent in the round of 16 will be Liudmila Samsonová, who beat Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. They had never met before; in fact, Raducanu barely faced a player with comparable full firepower.
The most important: Samsonová d. Tomljanovič
Raducanu’s run this week put her in her third quarter-final since winning the US Open, following Cluj-Napoca last October and Stuttgart in April. Getting past this stage would be a significant hurdle.