Raducanu leads as Battle of Britain resumes in Nottingham

Raducanu leads as Battle of Britain resumes in Nottingham

For Emma Raducanu it was to be the strangest of days.

She arrived early morning in the pouring rain to hear her quarter-final opponent, Francesca Jones, had withdrawn due to a shoulder injury and left in the bitter chill of night one set away from her first ever tour level final on grass.

What sat in between was hours upon hours of keeping busy in the players’ lounge as rain continued to cause havoc with the schedule.

But when she did take to Centre Court for her Battle of Britain semi-final against Katie Boulter, who is defending her crown here in Nottingham, it was a clash that was more than worth the five-hour wait.

Across a 79-minute opening set the two jewels in the crown of British tennis thrashed point after point towards each other, each rally appearing better than the last.

Emma Raducanu arrived in the pouring rain to hear her quarter-final opponent pulled out

Raducanu then took to Centre Court for her sem-final Battle of Britain against Katie Boulter

Boulter and Raducanu's battle has made for a British special

Raducanu then took to Centre Court for her sem-final Battle of Britain against Katie Boulter

Both thriving behind their own serves, there were gasps in the crowd when, four points into the tiebreak, down 3-1 to Boulter, Raducanu lost her footing, jarring her left knee.

Over to her seat she went, seemingly ready to wait for the physio, only to spring back up and push through. A quick nod to her coaching team showed her resilience.

And Raducanu, who is 164 places below Boulter in the world rankings and has not featured in a Tour level final since the 2021 US Open, rallied back impressively to set herself up with her first set point— the first of six — at 6-5 with a stunning cross-court backhand winner.

Boulter stood firm and they exchanged set point opportunities before a miscued slice on approach to the net seemingly handing the opener to Boulter at 10-9.

Raducanu, though, testing her knee between points, finally wrapped up an exhilarating opening set with her sixth set point, won with an overhead volley. Relief was palpable. It is only the second set Boulter has dropped in her last nine matches here.

As fans huddled together under blankets with light fading and chill setting in, Raducanu had a lengthy on-court discussion with the chair umpire and match referee about a problematic area of the court along the service line.

Former US Open champion Raducanu holds a one-set lead with rain suspending the match

Former US Open champion Raducanu holds a one-set lead with rain suspending the match

With Raducanu forthright in her concerns, the match was brought to an abrupt halt, slated to reach its conclusion this morning, just hours before the women’s singles final, where the other finalist is still to be determined after Diane Parry against Karolina Pliskova failed to even get going.

While there is a Brit guaranteed to be in the final in Nottingham on Monday, regardless of whether it is Raducanu or Boulter, over in Stuttgart it was job done for Jack Draper, as he cruised through to his first grass-court final on the ATP Tour.

Draper, 22, is having the week of his life after dethroning Cameron Norrie as British No 1 and adding to it by defeating American Brandon Nakashima 6-3, 6-3 in Stuttgart to set up a showpiece against former Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.

‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ Draper said. ‘I’ll give it my best shot (in the final). Everyone here is an incredible player so if I come out and play as I have been I’ll give myself a good shot (of winning).’

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *