Emma Raducanu discovers Madrid Open opponent as she reveals ‘great measure of progress’

Emma Raducanu sealed a morale boosting win
Emma Raducanu is aiming to find consistency in 2024

Emma Raducanu heads into the Madrid Open full of confidence after recognising a “great measure of progress” at her last event in Stuttgart.

After starring for Great Britain in the Billie Jean King Cup, Raducanu progressed to the last eight of the Women’s Stuttgart Open, beating former world No 1 Angelique Kerber and rising star Linda Noskova.

Her campaign ended against world No 1 Iga Swiatek, losing 7-6(2), 6-3 to the opponent she previously lost to in Stuttgart in 2022, and Indian Wells last year.

But despite a third consecutive loss to the Pole, Raducanu has taken huge encouragement from her performance as she heads into her Madrid campaign.

“It was really good [in Stuttgart]. I’ve played Iga twice before and I felt in the match that it was actually competitive, I wasn’t stressed to receive her ball,” said Raducanu.

“I felt like I was very much in the match, especially in the first set. That was a good feeling for me because to feel like that against the world No 1, especially on her favourite surface, I felt like I was able to hold my own.

“That was a great measure of progress for me.”

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Raducanu has been handed a favourable draw at the tournament, with Argentine qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle her opening-round opponent.

The Brit was previously drawn against former world No 1 Karolina Pliskova, who later withdrew from the tournament.

A relative newcomer to the tour, Carle – who sits at a career-high of world No 82 – has never played a Grand Slam main draw match and is making her WTA 1000 main draw debut.

Should Raducanu win on Wednesday, she would face 17th seed and 2023 semi-finalist Veronika Kudermetova in round two.

Fatigue has been a concern surrounding Raducanu throughout her career, but while she admits she is feeling the effects of her recent exploits, mentally she is ready to persevere.

She added: “I feel good in terms of my tennis, I feel like I’m playing really well. I think I’ve just racked up confidence week by week.

“It’s a challenge coming here to Madrid as it’s different conditions, it’s the first outdoor tournament I’ve played since Indian Wells. It’s not much time but I’ve had to just adjust quickly, and I feel pretty good here. I think I’m just trying to learn how to manage energy levels.

“I’m not going to deny that I’m tired but I think it’s just accepting that, knowing that you’re not going to feel 100% and just try to save everything for the fight, because the mental part can push you over the line as much as it can.”

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