A match of firsts for Emma Raducanu as she beats Polona Hercog in Cluj for maiden win at WTA Tour level

WTA Tour
Emma Raducanu in action on the WTA Tour

She is already a US Open champion, but Emma Raducanu ticked off some firsts at the Transylvania Open with victory over Polona Hercog in the first round.

Although she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and won the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu had never won a match at WTA Tour level until Tuesday as the Grand Slams are a level above the WTA.

But she can now call herself a match winner at WTA Tour-level while she also went the distance for the first time in her professional career, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in two hours and 26 minutes.

Having made her pro debut at Nottingham in June, Raducanu had played 14 matches – excluding the qualifiers at Flushing Meadows – going into her Cluj opener and she won all of them in straight sets.

On Tuesday Hercog became the first player to take a set off the teenager as the Slovenian won the opening set after staging a brilliant comeback.

Raducanu was the early aggressor and she broke in the second game to race into a 4-1 lead, but Hercog turned the tables as she won five games in a row, breaking twice, to grab the set.

The pressure was certainly on the 18-year-old in the second set, but she kept calm and fashioned three break point opportunities in game four, but couldn’t get the job done.

Hercog then failed to capitalise on a break point of her own in game nine, which was a virtual match point, and just when it appeared that the set was headed for a tie-breaker, Raducanu broke in game 12 to take it to a decider.

The momentum was now firmly with the British No 1 and she stamped her authority on the match as she broke twice to open a 5-0 lead.

Although Hercog saved two match points in game six to avoid getting bagelled, Raducanu served it out with an ace in the following game to set up a second-round clash against Ana Bogdan.

It was also her first win since her fairytale run at the US Open as she lost her opening match at the BNP Paribas Open.

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