Emma Raducanu inspired by previous Court One experience in impressive victory

Emma Raducanu was inspired by happy memories and Carlos Alcaraz in her thumping win over Elise Mertens to reach the third round of Wimbledon.

The 21-year-old was back on Court One for the first time since her breakthrough run to the fourth round here three years ago, kick-starting a summer than culminated in her stunning US Open success.

Raducanu had not been beyond the second round at a slam since but the result here never looked in doubt, with the Kent star seizing control from the start and racing to a 6-1 6-2 victory.

In 2021, the occasion was ultimately too much for the then teenager and she retired with breathing difficulties against Ajla Tomljanovic, but the match she most remembers is her third-round encounter with Sorana Cirstea on the same court.

“When I think of Court One, I just think of that amazing win against Sorana,” said Raducanu. “That was my first kind of coming out into tennis society.

“I just have such amazing memories from that court. I think that match in particular, it was the first time playing on a court that size. The crowd, the environment, the feeling of adjusting at the start, to just playing on a court that big.”

Raducanu has lived a veritable lifetime of experiences since then, many of them negative, but has had a smile plastered on her face at the All England Club this year and appears finally at ease with her place in the sport.

If she can maintain the form she showed against Belgian Mertens, ranked one place outside the seedings at 33, she could yet do some serious damage in this tournament.

Many of the games were close but, on the key points, it was Raducanu who came up with the moments of magic, be that a precision lob, a knifed drop shot or the sort of searing groundstrokes with which she made her name.

Playing under the roof on a grey, drizzly day, Raducanu lit up Court One with a run of five games in a row to start the match and did not look back to set up a meeting with ninth seed Maria Sakkari, who she defeated in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

Emma Raducanu runs for a forehand
Emma Raducanu runs for a forehand (John Walton/PA)

Raducanu followed Alcaraz on to court, and she said: “I had a lot of fun. I think that when my character shows through my tennis is when I play my best.

“I’m really pleased with that. Honestly, me following Carlos, it was pretty cool to watch him play because he has the same sort of demeanour and just enjoyment of the sport. It’s just good to follow and watch.”