Emma Raducanu puts Great Britain level with Czech Republic in Billie Jean King Cup after win on clay

The US Open champion’s clash with 50th-ranked Tereza Martincova was not only her senior competitive debut for Great Britain, but also her first professional match on clay – another example of the trajectory remarkable career of the 19-year-old player.

The pressure was on Raducanu after Harriet Dart’s 55-minute 6-1 6-0 thrashing by Marketa Vondrousova and she rose to the challenge in impressive fashion, claiming a 7-5 7-5 win.

The teenager learned as she rose to the surface, saving a set point after losing serve in the eighth game and winning the opener with a three-game streak.

She has shown a tendency to physically dip in the second rounds of matches this season and made two breaks at 0-3 and 1-4 in windy conditions at historic club Cesky, located on an island in the Vltava River.

Raducanu was making his Britain debut and first senior appearance in clay court competition

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But Martincova clearly smelled the opportunity and Raducanu once again showed his fighting spirit to fight back, winning six of the last seven games.

Raducanu’s last match on clay was at French Open juniors almost four years ago, but she spoke positively about her prospects on the surface ahead of the draw – despite losing her fingernails in training .

It will certainly be a result that will lift the teenager’s spirits – it is only the third win she has won this season and Martincova is the highest ranked player she has beaten since her semi-final win over Maria Sakkari at the US Open.

It was also a crucial victory for Great Britain if they are to cause a huge upset and overcome the perennial champions to book a place in the final the week later this year.

Harriet Dart was easily beaten by Marketa Vondrousova in Prague

/ Getty Images

Previously, Dart had been vastly outclassed by Olympic silver medalist and former French Open runner-up Vondrousova, who grew up playing at the club and is a high-quality player, especially on clay.

Dart exploited her opponent’s first nerves and should have led 2-0 but, aided by a series of double faults from the British number two, Vondrousova quickly settled in and went on 12 games in a row.

Saturday’s opener will see Raducanu face Vondrousova in a hugely intriguing encounter, with three points needed for victory in the draw.


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