Emma Raducanu is hoping to achieve something she has not managed since her US Open triumph by reaching the semi-finals of the Korea Open.
The British number one moved through to the quarter-finals in Seoul with a 6-3 7-5 victory over Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, repelling a second-set fightback from her experienced opponent.
This is the sixth time since Raducanu’s remarkable New York success that she has won two matches at the same tournament, but so far she has lost her third contest on each occasion.
— wta (@WTA) September 22, 2022
Now the 19-year-old will attempt to go one further when she takes on Pole, Magda Linette, on Friday.
Raducanu said: “Of course I really want to push as far as I can this week. I’ve made a few quarters in the past year but of course I’d love to go one further.
“I’m happy with the way that I’m building my game back up and progressing. And trying to set myself as best as possible up for next year and also just to improve my game and go through the development phase that I kind of missed out on.
“I think I’m taking on the challenges pretty well and accepting them. It’s not going to be an easy road back but it’s no fun if it all comes to you too easy.”
Raducanu’s ranking has dropped to 77 but, with few points now to defend over the next 12 months, she will look to climb back towards the top of the game at a steadier pace.
Having fallen at the first hurdle in her title defence at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu won only one match in Slovenia last week but has shown good signs in Korea.
She displayed the resolve needed to overcome a fightback from Wickmayer as a 4-1 lead in the second set ebbed away.
Former world number 12 Wickmayer has dropped to 460 in the rankings after taking a spell out of the game following the birth of her first child in 2021, but she was a dangerous opponent who grew stronger during the match.
Raducanu dominated the opening set and looked in full control with an early break in the second after a long first game.
But Wickmayer began to apply real pressure to the Raducanu serve and got her reward with a break in the seventh game.
The British player dug in well, though, holding onto her serve thereafter before taking a match point in the 12th game.
Third seed Linette battled past France’s Kristina Mladenovic in three sets, and Raducanu said: “It’s so important to take it one match at a time because Linette is a challenging opponent.
“She made the final last week and she’s really experienced. She’s had many, many years more than me on the tour.”
At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, there was another setback for former world number one and home favourite Naomi Osaka, who withdrew ahead of her clash against Beatriz Haddad Maia through illness.