Thursday, June 20, 2024

Like I was playing two v one – Emma Raducanu fuming at line calls in Nottingham

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Emma Raducanu said she was on the end of some “insane” line calls which left her feeling like it was “two v one” in her first-round victory at the Nottingham Open.

Less than 24 hours after British compatriot Harriet Dart described the standard of line-calling as “pretty appalling” in her defeat to Katie Boulter, where she offered to bet the chair umpire £50,000 she was wrong about a call, Raducanu was on the wrong end of some questionable decisions.

But she did not let it affect her and began her latest career reboot with a comfortable 6-1 6-4 over Japanese Ena Shibahara.

Raducanu was pleased to beat “her and the umpire” and suggested some of the calls were made deliberately to extend the match.

“I mean, I feel like I was playing two v one on court, it was insane,” she said. “I would have used probably at least four challenges!

“I think a lot of the time they go both ways, today I felt they were all against me but it just makes me feel better than I managed to beat her and the umpire as well.

“It is difficult when there is no challenge but it is something everyone has to deal with.

“You can be fortunate in some ways, maybe it was just trying to make the match more competitive, it was 6-1 and 5-1 and all of a sudden first point serving at 5-3 it’s a really bad line call.

“It’s something I had to deal with and overcome. I am very pleased with the attitude I came out with from the get-go and also having to deal with the adversity.”

Emma Raducanu was in good spirits in Nottingham (David Davies/PA)

The PA news agency has contacted tournament organisers for a comment on the standard of officiating at the event.

It was a sweet homecoming for Raducanu as she registered a first WTA Tour victory on British soil.

The 21-year-old skipped the French Open to prepare for the grass-court swing as she continues to take small steps on her road to recovery from three surgeries this time last year, where she went under the knife on both wrists and an ankle, leaving her using a mobility scooter to get around.

Her six-week hiatus produced early fruit in a promising performance in her first match in this country in 714 days.

“I was very pleased to come through that, it wasn’t easy,” she said. “I haven’t played in a match for a while, playing someone who comes through qualifying and is used to the conditions, I am very pleased to have won that match.

“And more just happy with how I was in myself. My demeanour was great, my attitude was great, that is the most important thing and if I have that then I know the tennis will follow.

“An element of me forgot what it was like to play at home and have that support behind and it is amazing, it’s a great feeling.

“I am very lucky to have great support wherever I play, but it’s not quite like coming and playing in the UK. It’s something that me and all the Brits cherish and look forward to every year.”

From the moment she took the opening game with a cute lob to break her opponent’s serve, she was in control.

With some sweet ball striking and serene mobility around the court, Raducanu looked in good shape as she dropped just one game in a flawless first set, which included two breaks of serve.

An early break in the second put her on course for the quickest and most handsome victory of her career as she dominated the world number 274.

A late rally from Shibahara blotted the copybook as she won three games in a row, including two breaks to give Raducanu the jitters before she got over the line.

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