Tennis: Raducanu turns on charm offensive

BUCHAREST (REUTERS) – US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been touching base with her Romanian side this week and endearing herself to the fans by speaking their language.

The crowd favourite, whose father is Romanian and her mother is Chinese, is bidding to win her first title on the WTA Tour in just her fourth tournament, outside of two Majors this year, including Wimbledon.

She eased into the Transylvania Open quarter-finals with a controlled 6-3, 6-4 win over Ana Bogdan, another home favourite alongside two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep, in the second round yesterday.

The 18-year-old Briton followed up her maiden WTA Tour match victory over Polona Hercog of Slovenia on Tuesday with a much improved display.

She looked steady on serve, winning 87.5 per cent of her first serve points and afterwards hailed the warm reception.

“It was so good to play a Romanian here. All the volunteers who go into making this tournament possible, we really appreciate their support. Ana was a great opponent,” Raducanu said.

“It’s definitely taking me some time to find my feet still. I’m taking some learnings from every match I play. I still don’t think I’m the finished product yet.”

Raducanu, who announced herself on the grandest stage with her shock victory at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier, added she had gifted her US Open trophy to the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

“I just thought the LTA had done so much for me and I just wanted them to have it as a sign for everything they had done for me. It’s a little gift,” she said.

Raducanu will next face 19-year-old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk tomorrow.

The teenager also intends to visit her grandmother, who lives in Bucharest, after the tournament.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray said his defeat in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday was just another bump in the road, with the former world No. 1 convinced it is just a matter of time before he is going deep into tournaments and winning again.

The Scot had secured his first win over a top-10 player in 14 months after beating Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the first round, but he failed to advance further as he was outplayed 6-3, 6-4 by Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz.

“I will get better and I will improve and I will break through in one week, or two weeks, or a few months. It will happen,” he said.

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