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Raducanu battles past Hercog in Cluj-Napoca comeback win

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Emma Raducanu claimed her first match win since her sensational run to the US Open title at the Transylvania Open on Tuesday. Britain’s No. 3 fought back from a set-down to defeat Slovenia’s Polona Hercog 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the first round in Cluj-Napoca.

The 18-year-old Raducanu, who made history by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title last month, saw a 4-1 lead in the first set slip but recovered to complete the second set before moving on to home went into the third after a turbulent 2 hours and 27 minutes.

“Polona is a great opponent, and she has a lot of experience, so I had to fight really hard to get it through,” Raducanu said at her post-match press conference. “I thought I was playing a little better tennis towards the end of the third set, and the most important thing was that I deserved another chance to play better in my next round.”

Quick Facts: World No. 23 Raducanu had only played one game since her exploits in New York City, after falling for Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her opening match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

However, Raducanu was able to turn the tide against 124th ranked Hercog. The 30-year-old Hercog is a veteran former Top 40 player with three WTA singles titles to her name, but the Slovenian entered the event with a 13-19 win-loss record for the year.

Raducanu had a whopping 17 break points in their first meeting, and while she managed to convert only four of those chances, it still held her ahead of Hercog, who went 2-for-5 on break points.

“It feels like a huge win, to be honest,” said Raducanu. “It’s actually my first WTA [event main-draw] winning, which makes me very, very happy.”

Key moments:Raducanu broke for an early 2-0 lead on her sixth break of that lengthy game, eventually taking a 4-1 lead in the opener after firing consecutive winners from both wings. But Hercog was suddenly playing five games in a row as the Briton’s mistakes piled up and the unseeded player swiped the first set.

Raducanu, however, kept pace with Hercog, avoiding breakpoints in each of her last two service games of the second set, as the pair advanced to 6-5. After no breaks to that point of the set, Hercog stared down three set points in that game. On Raducanus’ third chance, Hercog fired a forehand long and the match was even on one set apiece.

Raducanu took control for good by breaking 2-0 in the final set and swept to 5-0 after a seven-game winning streak. Hercog was able to clear two match points before holding on to 5-1, and a double foul by Raducanu gave the Slovenian a break point in that game. Raducanu, however, cleared that up with a forehand winner and capped off the win two points later with her fourth ace.

“I think the key was to try to stay mentally calm,” Raducanu said. “I just had to go point by point. And I thought if I kept giving myself a chance by serving, maybe my tennis would improve and fall into place a little bit better, and it did, so I’m really proud of it.” myself with how I fought today.”

In round two: In the second round, Raducanu will face Romanian Ana Bogdan. World No.106 Bogdan defeated Serbia’s Ivana Jorovic, 7-6(1), 6-4, to take home a first-round win on Monday.

Winning wild cards: Earlier on Tuesday, two Romanian wildcards took home victories, in long own thrillers of three sets. First, Irina Bara upset compatriot and No. 7 seed Irina-Camelia Begu, 7-6 (2), 0-6, 6-4 in an all-Romanian clash.

World No. 138 Bara regrouped after being downplayed by her higher-ranking compatriot in the second set, taking the decider’s lone break at 2-2 before beating World No. 57 Begu in nearly two and a half hours.

Bara then takes on Rebecca Peterson from Sweden for a spot in the quarter-finals. Peterson defeated Croatian lucky loser Jana Fett on Tuesday 6-1, 6-3.

Later, Romanian hope Jaqueline Cristian took a gritty 3-6, 7-6(8), 7-6(3) victory over Slovenian Kaja Juvan and advanced to the second round after a grueling 2 hours 46 minutes.

World Champion 105 Cristian trailed 3-5 in the second set and had to save two match points in the second set tiebreaker before fighting back to take the win over Juvan in 98th place. Cristian will now face Australia’s number 5 seed Ajla Tomljanovic in her next match.

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