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Emma Raducanu started her North American hard-court swing in impressive fashion as she eased past qualifier Louisa Chirico at the Citi Open and the points she picked up will be crucial for her WTA Rankings over the next few weeks.
Playing in her first singles match since her disappointing second-round defeat at Wimbledon, the US Open champion produced a composed display against the American to secure a 6-4, 6-2 victory in one hour and 27 minutes.
Raducanu was quick out of the blocks as she broke the Chirico serve in the opening game of the match, but the world No 216 was back on terms in game six only for the British No 1 to edge ahead again three games later.
There was no mistake from Raducanu when it came to serving it out as she did so without dropping a point.
The second set started with both players saving a break point on their serve before Raducanu eventually got her nose in front in game five. She then took out an insurance policy in game seven before again serving it out to love.
“It definitely feels really good to get a win here in D.C.,” the world No 10 said in her post-match press conference. “After not playing for quite a bit after Wimbledon or many matches at all this year, I think it’s a really nice feeling just to get on the board.
“I think playing any first round is always pretty challenging. Then when you’re not necessarily that match-sharp, small things you don’t necessarily get right. It’s just important to stay calm.”
Up next is Maria Osorio after the Colombian beat former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.
If Raducanu gets past Osorio then she will face either Luidmila Samsonova or Ajla Tomljanovic in the quarter-final.
How Emma Raducanu can ensure her WTA ranking does not collapse in the next month
But crucially for Raducanu the points she picked up will be a big boost as she looks to avoid plummeting down the WTA Rankings if she fails to defend her US Open title next month.
Raducanu currently has 2717 points, but 2040 of that will come off her total if she fails to replicate her success at Flushing Meadows. She will hope to reach the latter stages of the tournament with 110 points on offer for a semi-final place, 180 for finishing runner-up and 280 for winning the event.
The article Emma Raducanu ‘stays calm’ at Citi Open ‘to get on the board’ as she starts crucial swing with a win appeared first on Tennis365.com.