Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, marked her return to the court after eight months of injury-induced hiatus with a hard-fought victory at the ASB Classic in Auckland. Overcoming wrist and ankle surgeries, she triumphed in a tense match against Elena-Gabriela Ruse, securing a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win in two and a half hours.
The match showcased Raducanu’s strong start in a serve-dominated opening set, followed by Ruse’s comeback in the second set with improved returns and powerful forehands. Although Raducanu narrowed Ruse’s lead in the second set, it wasn’t enough to claim victory.
Raducanu regained her dominant form in the deciding set, surging to a 5-2 double-break lead. Despite Ruse’s spirited fightback to 5-5, which included saving two match points, Raducanu held her nerve and sealed her first win since the BNP Paribas Open in March last year.
Expressing gratitude for her regained health, Raducanu acknowledged the challenge of returning after such a long break. The Briton, now ranked 301 in the world and requiring a wildcard entry, faces a tougher challenge against second seed Elina Svitolina in the next round, as the Ukrainian eliminated former No.1 Caroline Wozniacki earlier on Tuesday.