Bianca Andreescu topples Emma Raducanu in Miami Open ding-dong
Bianca Andreescu toppled Emma Raducanu in an intense back-and-forth clash in the opening round of the Miami Open.
The battle of Toronto-born former US Open champions did not disappoint as Andreescu won out 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Both players haven’t always been able to find their best form since their great triumphs but they put on a sparkling contest at the Hard Rock Stadium.
They had only met once before with Andreescu claiming an abbreviated clash after Raducanu retired.
This time around Andreescu sealed victory in 2 hours and 33 minutes in a three-set epic.
The opening set would be decided by Andreescu’s quick start. She broke Raducanu right away with to her incredibly aggressive return strategy, and she held that lead for the duration of the set. Injecting pace at the Raducanu backhand repeatedly let her widen the court, and she banged down four aces out of her 12 winners overall. Without time to relax, the Brit made 15 unforced errors compared to only three winners.
In the second set, Raducanu displayed remarkable comeback play and increased intensity, especially in the vital eighth game. It was a fantastic back-and-forth between the two as Andreescu repeatedly repelled Raducanu’s attempts to force a break. Raducanu found a sweet forehand winner to set up her sixth break point and Andreescu then finally missed the mark as she hit wide to hand the British No 1 the set.
Andreescu regrouped in the decisive set and on crucial plays showed great resilience and guts. She avoided dropping a break all four times she faced one and turned around an 0-40 deficit in the first game, which saw momentum swing. Raducanu gave Andreescu break opportunities in the sixth game after she sent down the only double fault of the match from either player and she would convert the second with a thunderous forehand down the line.
She said that she needed to stay on top of her own thoughts as Raducanu made her dig deep.
“You never know what to expect — I just came in here wanting to play my best with what I had today, and I think I did that. Emma played amazing — she’s an incredible player and I have a lot of respect for her,” Andreescu said.
“I didn’t let my negative emotions get the best of me. I stayed positive, I was very energetic and I never gave up.”
The win sets Andreescu up for a clash with seventh seed Maria Sakkari in the next round.
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