Emma Raducanu credits improved serve for reaching Rothesay Open quarter-finals

Emma Raducanu credited her improved serve for helping her reach a first WTA Tour quarter-final on grass at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham.

The former US Open champion produced a solid display in cool, windy conditions against Ukraine’s Daria Snigur to triumph 6-2 6-2, with 11 aces proving very useful.

Raducanu has been working hard on her serve, and she said: “I’m very happy to have come through that match.

“It was a really tricky one in the conditions and I’m just very happy with how I dealt with all the circumstances. Daria’s a really difficult opponent so it is actually a really good achievement for me to have come through that one.

“I’m pleased for sure serving it out the first time. I served really well throughout the whole match and it did make the match a bit easier. If I had just a second serve, it would have just been a nightmare to play her.

“I’ve been working on every part of my game but obviously the serve is very important. It’s just repetition and I’m pleased to see the rewards in competition.

“Especially what I’ve realised, playing the top opponents like Iga (Swiatek) or Aryna (Sabalenka), you need a first serve because they’re very comfortable holding serve. If you don’t have one yourself then it’s very difficult.”

Emma Raducanu reacts to a line call
Raducanu has been working hard on her serve (Mike Egerton/PA)

Raducanu struggled to find her range and timing in the first couple of games against 22-year-old Snigur, who is ranked 127th and proficient on grass having won the junior title at Wimbledon five years ago.

But from 2-0 down Raducanu reeled off six games in a row before breaking twice more in the second set, while her serve helped her save seven of the eight break points she faced.

The 21-year-old was coughing and spluttering at times but played down concerns, saying: “I’m a bit sick but who isn’t? It doesn’t matter.”

There was a big shock in the men’s Challenger event, where Cameron Norrie was beaten 1-6 6-4 6-4 by qualifier Jack Pinnington Jones.

It was by far the biggest result of Pinnington Jones’ career, with the 21-year-old from Kingston upon Thames having followed in Norrie’s footsteps by studying at Texas Christian University in the United States.

Cameron Norrie walks off court after losing to Jack Pinnington Jones
Norrie (pictured) was beaten 1-6 6-4 6-4 by qualifier Pinnington Jones (Mike Egerton/PA)

Norrie’s season is yet to really spark and the 28-year-old will lose the British number one position he has held since October 2021 to Jack Draper on Monday.

“I’m happy for him and he deserved the win today and hopefully he can go further,” said Norrie. “For me, it was a good couple of practice matches on the grass and I’m looking forward to getting back to London and preparing for Queen’s.

“I was very disappointed with the match, but I am happy that Jack is through and the TCU boys are doing well.”

Rain set in during the late afternoon, with play eventually called off for the day at 7pm.

Britain’s Fran Jones had been on the brink of closing out victory over Ashlyn Krueger, leading the American 6-5 in the deciding set. The winner will go on to play Raducanu.

In the men’s Challenger event, Billy Harris had been scheduled to play Joao Fonseca, but that match was not able to get started so will also be held over.