Wimbledon: Emma Raducanu defeats Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck in opening round

Emma Raducanu put her troubled build-up behind her as she marked her Centre
Court debut by defeating Alison Van Uytvanck to reach the second round of
Wimbledon with a straight-sets win; Raducanu faces Caroline Garcia next after she beat Britain’s Yuriko Miyazaki in three sets

Last Updated: 27/06/22 10:24pm

Emma Raducanu defeated the dangerous Alison Van Uytvanck in straight sets

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu made an impressive Centre Court debut by defeating Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck on opening Monday at Wimbledon.

The British teenager has been in a race against time to be fit after suffering a side strain at the WTA Tour event in Nottingham earlier this month, but she delighted fans with a superb 6-4 6-4 victory.

In her on-court interview, Raducanu said: “I know Alison’s an extremely tricky opponent, she’s had great results on grass. I played her last summer and on grass where the balls stay so low, it’s extremely tricky to neutralise such a great serve.

“I’m extremely pleased to have come through that match and looking forward to hopefully playing in front of you guys again.”

On the support she has received, the 19-year-old said: “I’ve been feeling it ever since I stepped on to the practice courts, people behind me going, ‘Emma you’ve got this’. And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got this’.

“I’m just so happy to stay another day.”

Raducanu will next face Carolina Garcia, who beat Britain’s Yuriko Miyazaki 4-6 6-1 7-6 (10-4).

Van Uytvanck vs Raducanu: Match Stats

Van Uytvanck Match Stats Raducanu
3 Aces 3
5 Double Faults 1
59% 1st serve win percentage 71%
41% 2nd serve win percentage 55%
2/7 Break points won 4/12
18 Total winners 13
30 Unforced errors 18
63 Total points won 75

Raducanu came into her post-match press conference wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with Rafael Nadal’s bull horns logo, and says she is taking inspiration from the Spaniard, who has won both Grand Slams so far this season.

“I think Rafa just embodies fight, that sort of energy,” Raducanu said.

“That’s what I’m bringing in. I think that I have had a tough year, it’s no secret. It is all worth it just to go out on Centre Court and get a win like that.

“I definitely am very happy to be here. All the lessons I’ve taken from the last year will only hold me in good stead for the future.”

Raducanu made the fourth round as a wild card at Wimbledon a year ago before her stunning victory as a qualifier at the US Open.

But her 2022 season has been plagued by injury setbacks, the latest a side strain at the start of the grass season that restricted her to just seven games on the surface. By contrast, this was Van Uytvanck’s 15th match on grass this summer after lifting titles in Surbiton and Italy.

But Raducanu shook off any pre-tournament injury concerns and showed her quality as she battled through to the next round.

Both players looked nervy at the start of the contest and five break points went by in the opening two games.

Raducanu earned the first break in the seventh game after a double fault from Van Uytvanck.

Although there was an immediate response from the Belgian with a break to love, Raducanu upped the tempo in the next game and broke again.

Raducanu fell 15-40 behind as she served for the set but rallied as the crowd urged her on and took the set at the second opportunity as Van Uytvanck netted.

The momentum appeared to be with Raducanu as she moved 15-40 ahead on Van Uytvanck’s opening service game in the second set.

But the Belgian held in a marathon game featuring six break points and seven deuces.

A forehand winner down the line saw Van Uytvanck move 3-1 ahead, but Raducanu broke straight back as her opponent fired a smash beyond the baseline.

The tension ratcheted up as the end of the set drew nearer and Raducanu struck a crucial blow in the ninth game, forcing an error with a powerful service return and then breaking after a double fault.

Raducanu was calm under pressure as she served out the match, finishing with a backhand volley at the net and jumping for delight.

Jodie Burrage came to the aid of a ball boy who was taken illduring her first-round match with Lesia Tsurenko

Jodie Burrage came to the aid of a ball boy who was taken illduring her first-round match with Lesia Tsurenko

Jodie Burrage came to the aid of a ball boy who was taken ill during her first-round defeat to Lesia Tsurenko.

The youngster looked unsteady on his feet early in the second set of her 6-2 6-3 loss and the 23-year-old Briton attended to him, offering an energy gel from her bag and a drink.

The crowd also helped out, passing some Percy Pig sweets to her during a five-minute delay.

The ball boy was later treated by paramedics and left in a wheelchair.

The loss saw Burrage, whose impressive form in the run up to Wimbledon has seen her climb into the top 150, become the first Briton to lose at this year’s tournament.

Second seed Anett Kontaveit beat Bernarda Pera 7-5 6-1 while third seed Ons Jabeur eased into the second round with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Swedish qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund.

Jabeur reached the quarter-finals at the All England Club last year and won a grass-court title in Berlin heading into this year’s tournament.

American Danielle Collins was the highest women’s seed to fall on day one as she went down 5-7 6-4 6-4 to Marie Bouzkova on Monday.

Australian Open runner-up Collins, seeded seventh, looked on course for the second round after taking a tight opener but came unstuck against the 66th-ranked Czech player.

Alison Riske was the first player to reach the second round as she beat Ylena In-Albon 6-2 6-4.

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