Emma Raducanu moved on to the round of 16 in the Abu Dhabi Open after a notable 6-4, 6-1 victory against Marie Bouzkova, who is currently ranked 26th in the world.
The 21-year-old bounced back from a sluggish beginning to secure 10 out of the last 11 games and arrange a match with the tournament’s second-ranked player, Ons Jabeur, in the upcoming round. Raducanu once again showed promise after her victory against Shelby Rogers in the first round of the Australian Open last month.
Raducanu’s bold strategy surprised Bouzkova, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2022. Despite being broken early on, Raducanu rallied and won four consecutive games to claim the first set. She maintained her dominance in the second set and secured another promising victory.
“I feel like initially, I was getting used to the pace of the court. This was my first time playing on this particular court this year,” Raducanu stated post-match. “It was quite fast and also less windy compared to the previous week, which affected the tempo.”
“Marie is a formidable adversary. I was aware that I would have to return a lot of shots, and initially I struggled with my final shots. However, I managed to improve and I am pleased with my performance.”
Raducanu made her return to the Auckland Open after being out for eight months due to wrist and ankle surgeries. She put up a strong fight against Elina Svitolina, but ultimately lost in three sets. In the second round of the Melbourne tournament, she battled through a stomach bug to take on China’s Wang Yafan for almost three hours before ultimately being defeated.
Raducanu’s improved form and resilience will be put to the test in her first encounter with Jabeur, the sixth-ranked player in the world and two-time Wimbledon finalist. This comes after her 2023 season was hindered by injuries.